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Podcasting holds the potential to generate important new revenue streams for independent broadcasters in Ireland according to John Hirst, Head of Global Content and Podcasts with leading UK radio group Global Radio.

Addressing the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland Annual Conference, Mr. Hirst said; “We have generated £1.5 million in new revenue from podcasting over the past three years. “This is a very valuable additional source of revenue and it is growing significantly at present.”

Hirst argued that there are two main reasons for broadcasters to invest in podcasting. The first is to get closer to their listeners and the second is to generate new streams of revenue.

“One of the main reasons to do it is to deepen your connection with your listeners”, he said. “Take 95.8 Capital FM for example. It is mainly a music station but it has podcasts on topics such as fashion and what’s on in London available exclusively on its website. People who don’t listen to the radio station might download the podcasts and still have a relationship with the radio station.”

Audience loyalty is also an important point. “By offering listeners a range of free podcasts on your site you can strengthen the connection with the audience and build loyalty at the same time.”

Revenue generating activity comes from two main areas, production and advertising. “Additional revenue can be generated from advertising campaigns by offering a podcast or vodcast element”, Hirst pointed out. “Not only are you getting money from the radio advertising budget but you can also access the online budget.”

The podcast or vodcast dimension can be in the form of short “mini-programmes” relating to the product or company which are available on the station website or on the advertiser’s website. Either way, the radio ads and the station website carry signposts to the podcast.

“In the UK, stations are making money from their production skills and facilities in making the podcasts on behalf of advertisers. In addition, by offering vodcasts they are opening up new markets. Advertisers are saying ‘we didn’t know you guys could do video’, and when they find out they can they are also looking for things like DVD production.”

Another small but not insignificant potential revenue stream comes from subscribers. “LBC in London has around 5,000 subscribers paying £2 per month to download all available podcasts from the station”, he notes. “But the subscriber model really only works for speech stations with a lot of original content.”

Mr Hirst concluded by calling on Irish broadcasters to pay more attention to podcasting. “Additional revenue is welcome at any time but it is particularly so during a downturn. Podcasting offers a valuable new source of revenue and none of us can afford to ignore it.”

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For more information please contact MKC Communications:
Laurie Mannix: 086 814 3710
Gerard Howlin: 087 237 1839

About the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland
The Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI) is the representative body for Ireland’s independent commercial radio broadcasters. The mission of the IBI is to champion the agenda of independent broadcasters in Ireland and to be a distinct and coherent national voice in the ongoing campaign for competitive equality across the sector.

The independent voice of Ireland, 64% of the population tune into independent radio on a daily basis. This translates into weekday figures of 2.382 million listeners. With more than 1500 people employed in the sector, independent broadcasters make a significant economic, social and cultural contribution to the Irish economy. The IBI represents 2 national radio stations, 4 regional radio stations and 27 local radio stations. For more information please visit: www.ibireland.ie