CBS Is Quietly Building An Internet Radio Powerhouse

I’ve had a ringside seat for a number of reasons and it’s been fun to watch the team at CBS Radio quietly putting together a streaming audio powerhouse. Earlier this year, CBS acquired the rights to operate AOL Radio and yesterday they announced that they had done the same with Yahoo!’s internet radio business.

If you combine the audio streams that CBS’ owned and operated radio stations (like 1010 WINS, WFAN, KROCK, etc) generate with the AOL and Yahoo! streams, you’ll realize that they are a bigger streamer than almost anyone on the web, with the exception of YouTube.

As Tameeka Kee of Paid Content points out in the blog post I linked to above:

They’ve made the investment in the infrastructure, the platform and the sales force to operate in a sustainable way.”

CBS Radio’s ad sales expertise is a big plus: it has a 1,600-member
sales team, can sell ads on national and local levels, and has a vested interest
in TargetSpot, the ad technology firm that can serve hypertargeted ads
into various types of streaming media. CBS also has experience with a
partnership of this size, as it merged its online radio network with AOL’s
back in March. 

Our portfolio company, Targetspot, is indeed part of the equation here. Monetizing this huge listener base is the end game and highly targeted audio advertising is going to be a big part of the internet radio/streaming audio opportunity.

When we talk about internet media, so much attention is paid to web publishing (including blogs and social media) and web video. Not much attention is paid to online listening. But it is exploding, possibly at a faster rate than text or video. I know that I listen to at least an hour or two of streaming audio every day. And very little of that is monetized currently. That will change and I expect Targetspot and our friends at CBS Radio to be big beneficiaries of that trend.

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