Venturenet Partners, a company that offers in-store digital radio for businesses under the Spot Radio brand, has raised an undisclosed amount in a Series-A funding round from Ojas Ventures Partners, reports The Economic Times. The company intends to use the funding to expand services and features of its current in-store radio service and for launching consumer internet radio services under the Radiowalla brand. The company has reportedly partnered with 20 national retail chains.
Business Model: Spot Radio offers customized radio streams for retail businesses, which in addition to music and talk, also include ads and in-store messages related to the business. According the company’s website, businesses can choose between different packages, offering varying level of store customization. It even allows businesses to monetize radio streams by selling airtime to other advertisers for monetization, and sharing revenue, under one particular plan.
Competition: A similar service is offered by Timbre Media, the same company which provided music programming to satellite radio service WorldSpace. The company offers customized radio content including packaged music and non-music content in for businesses. In July 2011, Saregama India acquired a 10% equity stake in the company to relaunch WorldSpace radio channels on the internet, mobile and DTH mediums. Although, the first channel from the company was expected to launch in September-October, there has been no announcement till date.
We’re not too sure if internet radio offers a good monetization opportunity in the current landscape. It’s hard to pull users unless the service offers additional features such as personalization and social integration, in addition to a large content catalogue. There’s competition from FM radio stations, music streaming sites and legal and not so legal music download sites. It appears that Venturenet will have some advantage in terms of access to ad inventory since it’s already running ads on Spot Radio and sells 6 minutes of advertising per hour, even on its customized stations.