Pay per listen podcasts & subscription radio, the future?
At the start of the week, the Ricky Gervais show announced they were going to do a 2nd series of podcasts but they were going to charge for them and although its only $6.95 for at least 4 episodes of the great comedy show, it got me thinking about the advent of subscription radio and podcasts.
Sirius & XM satellite radio started broadcasting in 2001 in the US and offer subscription radio starting at $12.95/month and they have literally become the Sky of radio with Sirius offering exclusive live commentary of all NFL games and having give Howard Stern, the Chris Moyles of US radio, a $500 million contract they are really starting to gain a foothold on the radio market especially with the technology getting cheaper.
Satellite radio is more free from regulations which suits the colorful language of Howard Stern very well, allowing him to swear on air as they can have 'adult channels' due to the fact they can control who listens and has subscriptions to his station. I suppose this can be seen as an advantage and I expect soon there will be adult sex talk radio stations if theres not already broadcasting on the medium. Also, in terms of sound quality apprently its far better which would be expected I suppose.
Satellite radio hasn't really happened anywhere else in the world yet and I can't see it happening in the UK anytime soon really due to the small size of the UK not making it that viable, saying that though it would only take Sky TV to branch into the area and make it happen.
Its weird really that satellite tv came before satellite radio its a bit like reversing evolution with radio origianlly coming before television and my Dad always says that if radio had originally came after TV it would be more popular. Although I somehow doubt that, it does seem subscription radio and audio is in the future whether thats a good thing or not, I don't know but when Sky began broadcasting in 1989 it certainly shuck up the UK TV market and maybe the same will happen to UK radio around the next corner.