Monetizing your radio station’s web efforts…it’s about more than banner ads


“Free, why $0.00 is the future of Business.”

You can read the story here and see a nice Q&A from a media perspective in Ad Age here [registration required].

Radio, of course, is already in the “free” business.

But what really intrigued me was one sidebar on the Wired site called “Making Money with Free Content.”

It lists a bunch of ways to monetize your digital efforts while still operating in the world of “free” besides the obvious strategies of hooking up current over-the-air clients with digital marketing solutions.

One main point is this: Banner ads will carry diminished importance in the years to come.

And an even more important point: As “free” becomes the model du jour, advertisers will be expected to pick up a share of the sponsorship burden. That means the market for ad and marketing dollars will dramatically broaden, thus increasing your competition for a finite amount of dollars. Your station – your company – is going to have to fire on all cylinders and expand your portfolio of revenue-generating tactics in order to keep your head above water.

We need to get over the fact that your competition will not be against other radio stations, TV, and print. It will be against all things “free” and ad-supported. Because online media expands the category and that money has to come from somewhere.

Here’s Wired’s list of strategies, edited lightly to focus on those which might make most sense for your station:

– CPM ads (“cost per thousand views”; banner ads online and regular ads in print, TV and radio) – CPC ads (“cost per click”; think Google ads) – CPT ads (“cost per transaction”; you pay only if the customer brought to you from a media sites becomes a paying customer. Here’s an example.) – Lead generation (you pay for qualified names of potential customers) – Autoresponder Memberships (people pay for email; watch this free video) – Subscription revenues – Affiliate revenues (e.g., Amazon Associates, Products + Clickbank) – Rental of subscriber lists – Sale of information (selling data about users–aggregate/statistical or individual–to third parties) – Licensing of brand (people pay to use a media brand as implied endorsement) – Licensing of content (syndication) – Getting the users to create something of value for free and applying any of the above to monetize it. (Like Digg or our own Reddit) – Upgraded service/content (ed: aka “freemium”) – Alternate output (pdf; print/print-on-demand; customized Shared Book style; etc.) – Custom services/feeds – Live events – “Souvenirs”/”Merchandise” – Co-branded spinoff – E-commerce (selling stuff directly on your website) – Sponsorships (ads of some sort that are sold based on time, not on the number of impressions) – Listings (paying a time based amount to list something like a job or real estate on your website) – Paid Inclusion (a form of CPC advertising where an advertiser pays to be included in a search result) – Streaming Audio Advertising (like radio advertising delivered in the audio stream after a certain amount of audio content has been delivered) – Streaming Video Advertising (like streaming audio but in video)

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