As shortwave use declined, many BBG broadcast services moved toward an affiliate model for distribution. But, as the BBG’s Doug Boynton writes, speaking directly to audiences is again becoming possible…
By Doug Boynton
BBG Office of Strategy and Development
From time to time, there is some nostalgia amongst my coworkers for the “good old days,” when we spoke directly to worldwide audiences via shortwave.
Some wish we could return to those days, to which my response is, “It’s coming sooner than you think. Will you be ready for it?”
I’m not talking shortwave – that may be gone forever as a useful tool to reach worldwide audiences that continue to become more urban, and as 3G, 4G, LTE and broadband continue to move beyond cities.
A report from Digital TV Research says that by 2017, 480 million homes in 40 countries will be watching line television and video through connected televisions and PCs – and that’s not counting the quickly growing number of smartphone and tablet users.
And while yes, those 40 countries comprise largely western nations, you’ll find the so-called “BRIC” countries – Brazil, Russia, India, and China as prominent members, along with Indonesia and Mexico. Likewise with Internet radio – where a smartphone with a 3G or better connection becomes the new transistor radio, with digital delivery of stations available even in far-flung places like Togo.
Admittedly – the number of people watching video or listening to online radio in a place such as Togo is small. But it’s a number that is not going to get smaller.
And with online net radio aggregators such as TuneIn offering more than 70-thousand online stations, there had better be a good reason for any single one to stand out. Even in the US, the discussion has started over whether an AM/FM radio is even relevant in automobiles any longer.
So again: it’s coming sooner than you think.