While Radio might seem outdated, it’s doing its best to keep up with changing times. Primedia, a South African media group of almost $2bn USD revenue is one media conglomerate joining the push to put their radio stations in the metaverse by joining ‘Africarare’, Africa’s very own virtual world.
Africarare is supported by Ubuntuland, its own virtual marketplace for buying, selling and trading digital assets. Primedia Pty Ltd has secured “virtual real estate” in a bid to enter new spaces and diversify its content, announcing that all of its assets will have a place in the virtual space.
The Spatial Radio?
Primedia announced that all of its holdings will be entering the metaverse, including its four regional radio stations. The media group believes that entering the metaverse will enable them to add another dimension of interaction with its audiences, create more immersive and meaningful interactions and provide new possibilities for advertisement space.
Jonathan Proctor, the managing director of the media group, presents this as Primedia “being bold enough to be first to market” and that this mindset has been key to the company’s “growth and sustainability”.
It’s hoped that this push to the metaverse will allow advertisers to present on virtual billboards in the virtual landscape, creating new avenues for ad revenue for the media group. Primedia aren’t the only major company to join Africarare: World Data Lab, a data enterprise providing estimates for economics and demographics also partnered with Africarare previously, in a push to create a “metaversity” and apply its model to the African virtual platform.
The Next Wave for Radio: The Metaverse
While it might seem a strange fit for radio to enter the metaverse, many tech leaders are unsurprised. Brian Benedik, Chief Revenue Officer at Audacy, ex-Spotify and ex-Niantic (the company responsible for PokémonGO) is excited about what’s next for audio in the metaverse:
“When you think about where audio has been, from listening to your radio to smart speakers, airpods and all these different ways on the go that you can consume audio – that's going to evolve in the metaverse.”
Benedik noted that many audio-headwear companies are being contacted by metaverse and technology companies looking to explore new ways for listeners to engage and experience this long-standing medium.
iHeartMedia—an American mass media corporation and the largest owner of Radio stations in the US—are also looking to bring their audio experiences closer to the metaverse by partnering with Roblox. iHeartMedia will look to create new, more immersive listening experiences through the virtual platform, aiming to use it as an onramp to the metaverse for the platform’s ~50 million active users. The company is also set to bring podcasts into the future in the same way through the introduction of virtual worlds to the listener experience.
Audio-entertainment is yet another sector that will be changed by the metaverse. By introducing radio stations and podcasts into a virtual world, the media companies can use the magic of the virtual to create new, immersive listening experiences while opening up new avenues of revenue for advertisements. Expect to see more audio companies look to the future to stay relevant ahead of the ever-encompassing virtual entertainment medium.