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BizReport : Research archives : November 24, 2010

Will Wi-Fi chips change radio listening and advertising?

A new report from In-Stat indicates that the market for Wi-Fi chips will surpass $100 million by 2015. By 2012 researchers predict that Wi-Fi chipsets shipped will reach at least one billion units per year with the biggest revenue potential in mobile Internet devices, auto applications, E-Readers and DVD/Blu-Ray players.

by Kristina Knight

"Ford has announced it is...adding WiFi to all SYNC-2-equipped vehicles starting this year," said Alled Nogee, Principal Analyst for In-Stat. "Ford even made headlines recently when it announced that it was using a car's built-in Wi-Fi to configure and customize each vehicle in the factory where it is being built...The cost of adding mobile hotspot ability to a broadband-capably system, such as [Chevrolet's] On-Star, is only roughly $25 per car or less."

Why is the Wi-Fi chip market important to advertisers? Because many of these chips may be placed in vehicles, giving consumers the ability to listen to online-based radio stations for their music, news, information and entertainment content. Is there a listenership base for Internet radio?

Yes. Terrestrial radio stations have been streaming content for years, but many consumers are turned off by the commercial-filled streams. However, online-based radio stations are finding that consumers are logging more hours with their stations when commercial-advertising is kept to a minimum. Notice I wrote 'minimal' advertising; much like online video, a happy medium needs to be found for advertising, but what is working for many stations is a type of pre-roll ad unit which is played for up to 30 seconds before the content streams begin.

"We launched our first station,, in April of 2010 and we now have listeners in all of the United States and 100 countries. We added a high-school football website in August and now we're now launching a new format,," said Kyle Knight, Owner of "We've built our audience in less than 10 months thanks to Facebook and our streaming provider Live365. We are now doing 10,000 listening hours per month, however, we cap our listenership during our peak times of 11a-3p (Eastern Time); if we didn't cap the listenership I believe our listening hours would be much higher. Of the more than 7,000 stations using Live365 for streaming, we are ranked in the top 225 stations and are now competing against terrestrial radio stations using the platform for streaming."

How are listeners engaging with Radio North Coast content? Through smartphones and their PCs, and Kyle expects listenership and website traffic to increase moving forward.

"Consumers want information now, they don't want to wait until they are home at the computer to get that information," said Knight. "I think [Wi-Fi chips] are the next step in our information-based society. Allowing vehicles to become Wi-Fi hotspots allows [consumers] to access media, email, social networks, etc. at any time without worrying about cell phone strength or 3G/4G access."

Tags: In-Stat, online radio, radio advertising, Radio North Coast, wi-fi, wifi chips

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