How The Radio Industry Could Benefit From Bitcoin,
Cryptocurrency & The Blockchain
Notice the headline didn’t read Can, Will, or Should.
There are so many ways broadcasting companies could use blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies for its benefit (a brief explanation of blockchain, etc. in a moment).
But does the radio industry deserve this powerful, stellar technology?
Let’s take a stroll down the memory hole…
What Is An Internet? Can We Sell It?
In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, radio station websites became a necessity. Sales management treated it as a “value added”, gimmicky selling tool. This led to websites looking like a mile-wide snapshot of the Vegas strip (and some still do) – because they didn’t know how it could be used properly.
Over time, smart radio stations removed the clutter from their sites, realizing that their users visit for information and/or entertainment (a.k.a. “content”).
With the rise of online video in 2003, I vividly recall telling my Operations Manager that we are “media” people. Any exclusivity to radio, television, etc. was dead.
They Ignored Me When I Rang The Alarm
- In 2008 when I suggested to sales management that our three radio stations (in a top 20 market) needed an app. In 2017, the Apple App Store generated approximately $26 billion dollars, with 20 billion of that going to developers.
- In 2011 when I told my General Manager that by using video, we could (at that time) help clients with their Google page rankings. Now, 72% of all internet traffic is from video.
Today, the radio stations wisely using digital platforms have effective apps and use videos to their benefit (Tip: stop producing “client videos” that nobody watches. Instead, share videos that already have traction).
The Rise Of The (Flawed) Big Data Machines
In the golden decades B. I. (Before Internet), Arbitron was the only data game in town.
If your station got great numbers, Arbitron was awesome. If not, blame Arbitron. Your station didn’t buy the book? Sucked to be you.
Radio now lives in PPM world. Of course, that data could never be manipulated (sarcasm off).
In the holy land of Social Media, Twitter and Facebook admit they have profiles that are bots which inflate “follow” and “like” numbers.
Has anyone – anywhere – in the broadcasting industry ever stopped to think:
How Much Of This Data Is (And Probably Is) Flawed?
- Ever have an email not go through?
- Ever have your debit or credit card declined for “suspicious activity” when you’re the one trying to use it?
- Ever get a Word document that is formatted incorrectly or is missing data, columns, or text?
- Ever blacklist a spam email, yet you still receive emails from that sender?
- Ever ask client if they sent a contract or proposal back because you didn’t get it?
The list could go on for days.
In 2018, every media outlet has become a sucker for “big data.” Analytics. Hyper-targeting via behavior patterns, listen times, and clicks.
Can You Honestly Say With 100% Certainty:
- How many actual, real followers your Social Media pages really have?
- How many minutes the average listener spends actively on your website?
- How many people are really listening to your stream?
- How many actual people are listening to your over-the-air signal?
- How many people attended your concert in the park or shopping spree at the mall?
No. And here’s the truth: NOBODY REALLY KNOWS.
Arbitron never did. Nielsen doesn’t. Crowd counters don’t.
NOR DO YOU. The best thing you have is an estimate, and that isn’t an absolute.
Isn’t it time for absolutes for everyone involved?
Now, there is a new technology correcting the errors of digital days gone by.
What’s A Blockchain? Can We Sell It?
Bitcoin became popular because it was new, the first, and built on new technology. It is by default, the de-facto “face” of cryptocurrency.
But Bitcoin isn’t the story here. What powers Bitcoin and all the others is the underlying tech called blockchain.
In short, a blockchain is an open ledger being used by thousands of computers simultaneously. If one piece of the data being sent on the blockchain is somehow changed, the entire transaction would be altered and then invalidated.
It is completely secure, decentralized, and transparent.
The blockchain can send any type of data: contracts, proposals, etc. Not just digital money such as bitcoin.
What’s A Bitcoin? Can We Sell It?
Yes, you can buy and sell Bitcoin. I actively do. Without speaking geek-ese, here’s the truth behind Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is simply one type of digital currency. There are approximately 1,500 other “coins” or “tokens” that you can invest in, just like you do with stocks. They’re commonly called “altcoins,” “Cryptocurrencies,” or “Crypto.”
Unlike the traditional stock exchanges, the cryptocurrency market is global and operates 24/7. The market never closes. But a word of caution: it is extremely volatile.
Do you believe Bitcoin is a fraud or bubble? Right now, you can buy a penthouse in Miami for 33 bitcoin. There are people around the world who live their lives using nothing but bitcoin as payment. There are ATM’s in Europe that allow you to buy and trade bitcoin.
The future is here, now.
How Do Bitcoin And Cryptocurrencies Work Today?
Let’s say you want to send one tenth of a bitcoin to your friend. Using a QR code or your friend’s digital address (called a “wallet”), you simply authorize the bitcoin to be sent to your friend’s wallet. The transaction then travels through a chain of secure blocks. Within seconds (or sometimes minutes), the bitcoin will appear in their wallet.
Fast. Secure. A fraction of traditional transaction fees. All done via blockchain technology.
The blockchain securely maintains multiple copies of the transaction, therefore it cannot be retroactively changed.
No, sales staffs…you cannot sell the blockchain. But you can sell the fact that your station (if wise enough) utilizes it.
The Blockchain Can Be Radio’s Lifeline 2.0
How can blockchain & cryptocurrencies benefit radio? Think of this:
There are companies developing software projects right now using geo-fencing and QR codes that will accurately and securely measure exactly how many people are attending your events. It will also reward them simultaneously with real “tokens” or coins. Not “points.”
There are companies developing tracking software that will reward people who watch and share your videos with tokens or coins.
There is a company right now developing a reward system for brick and mortar stores to not only reward people with tokens or coins just for entering their stores, but also for purchasing. That store can share that info on that customer with other stores on their “network.” A “preferred client” in today’s terms.
Tokens or coins equal real value.
That isn’t even the tip of the iceberg.
What’s the one thing that every single radio station in the world is striving for?
“Engagement.” Eyes for videos. Ears for TSL. Bodies for events. Quantifiable data, delivered via blockchain technology.
Can you see the future now?
Act Now, Or Pay Dearly Later
The good news is that cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are in their (relative) infancy. Now is the time to be proactive.
Don’t try to build your own blockchain. Partner with those who successfully have.
The radio industry cannot afford to make the same mistakes as they did with the internet in its early days.
To quote Morpheus in “The Matrix”: “I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one who has to walk through it.”
Will the radio industry walk through the door now? Or will they try to break through it like the Kool-Aid man long after the party has started?