RAIN 11/2: Webcaster Digitally Imported demonstrates online potential of niche content

Michael Schmitt
November 2, 2011 - 12:05pm

Digitally ImportedOne of the great things about the Internet is its power to aggregate smaller audiences of niche content, and by doing so, provide the creators of such content with a fanbase that makes producing it worthwhile. Content that would only attract a small gathering locally can add up to a gigantic audience globally.

Perhaps the best example of the power of niche programming online is Digitally Imported, the #2-ranked webcaster according to Triton Digital's All Streams Webcast Metrics from September 2011 (more here).

Launched in 1999 by Ari Shohat (pictured left), Digitally Imported originally focused on electronic music. They've since expanded through sister sites like Sky FM to include hundreds of "unique, super-niche stations that focus on the sub-genres of electronic, classical, jazz and pop music," writes web publication The Next Web in its feature on Digitally Imported. Ari Shohat

Shohat even has plans for "branching out horizontally, encompassing even more genres such as rock, meditational music and others."

In addition to being one of the highest-rated independent webcasters in the industry, Shohat and Digitally Imported played a major role in the early lobbying efforts and negotiations which led to royalty settlements that enabled Internet radio to survive.

Concludes The Next Web (here), "the stations have a massive listenership, a profitable business model and a strong foothold in mobile. For focusing on the micro scale, Digitally Imported and its horizontal expansions have made a large dent in the macro side of online radio."

Paul Maloney
November 2, 2011 - 12:05pm

Monocle 24 showsMonocle magazine publisher Tyler Brûlé has invested in a full studio suite and hired 22 people to staff his new 24-hour Internet radio service, Monocle 24. Brûlé styled the new webcast after the legendary BBC World Service, saying, "We are hoping to create a station which follows the tradition of the great Commonwealth broadcasters. It’s no surprise that we have drawn a lot of great people from the BBC World Service."

The webcast mixes talk radio (four live shows a day, and ondemand) and music, with news updates at the top of the hour. Listeners can also access news and national weather on demand, geo-targeted (we heard weather reports for various parts of the U.S.).

According to The Telegraph, Brûlé decided to start the radio service following the success of the Monocle Weekly podcasts. Over three years, the free, 45-minute shows were downloaded up to 650,000 times per month.

"We will also be making documentaries too. No commercial radio station will cover the ground we are going to be charting and it will be done very differently to the BBC," he said. "The web has pulled down traditional radio’s costly barriers to entry. We have invested heavily in both our people and facilities, but we have also signed up a roster of premium advertisers [Rolex and J. Crew to start] – making the service profitable from day one."

Monocle is a highly-regarded, London-based magazine and website which launched in 2007. According to its Wikipedia entry, "the magazine provides a globalist perspective on issues as fashion, international affairs and design."

Read The Telegraph's coverage here.

Michael Schmitt
November 2, 2011 - 12:05pm

Pandora on TVComcast is reportedly testing a Pandora app for its Xfinity TV cable subscribers. Comcast's CEO said the company is also testing apps for Facebook, sports programming and other services that will be announced soon. 

Presumably this would allow Comcast subscribers to listen to Pandora streams through their TVs. Comcast is the largest cable operator in the United States, with over 22 million subscribers (according to to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association here). 

However, FierceCable reports that the new apps may only be available to certain cable boxes. Find more coverage here.

Michael Schmitt
November 2, 2011 - 12:05pm

Livio Radio's Bluetooth Car Internet Radio KitLivio Radio's Bluetooth Car Internet Radio Kit is now available in RadioShack's 4,400 U.S. locations (just in time for the holidays).

The Car Kit can stream web radio from a smartphone (via Bluetooth) to your car radio (using an FM transmitter). It also features an aux-in jack if your device doesn't include Bluetooth (more info here).

You can find Livio Radio's press release here.