Clear Channel's Sales Soar -- Online
Together, digital tech vehicles--including cell phones, in-vehicle navigation, online streaming, and download subscriptions--account for about 5 percent of Clear Channel Radio's total revenue, or about $40.5 million in first quarter 2006, and Harrison's division is the fastest-growing part. Among its most popular features are streaming video-on-demand and music-on-demand features, according to Harrison, who boasted: "We're now a visual medium."
In 2005 Clear Channel Web sites bowed a new video service called "Stripped" where performers visit Clear Channel studios to deliver exclusive performances, including unstructured "jams"--for example, hip hop improvisation by Kanye West. On April 5th, 2006, the Clear Channel site network also began offering music videos on demand from its multi-volume library of over 5,000.
New video features have helped make Clear Channel's online music and radio network fifth in terms of monthly unique visitors--drawing 7,828,000 in May 2006. Although this places it just behind MySpace Music--which drew 8,151,000 in May--Clear Channel did beat out iTunes, MTV.com, VH1.com, and Rhapsody.com.
In terms of format, Harrison said, streaming broadcasts increased 421 percent between April 2005 and May 2006, bringing it suddenly to near-parity with AOL Radio--Harrison's former employer. Most remarkably, perhaps, Harrison said on-demand plays have risen 1,319 percent in the first 5 months of 2006--rising from 100,000 in the first week of January to 1.9 million in the last week of May/first week of June.
To enable these features and drive traffic to Clear Channel properties, Harrison led a broad relaunch of most of the company's local station Web sites, revamping over 950 out of a total 1,171 with 50 basic site "templates" designed in-house by Clear Channel online music and radio. Of these, so far over 800 have added streaming capabilities, with more planned in the near future.