You're Major League Baseball. You have a great product that has huge interest around the country, not to mention around the globe. You're trying to get your games on as many platforms as possible, while building revenue along the way. Sure, you're on satellite radio. But with all the troubles they have, and the lack of mobility (for the most part) with this medium, how do you address the growing mobile device business that provides true portability? (The portable transistor radio, by the way, wasn't so bad.)
So, you create an iPhone app. And you charge $9.99 for it, a small one-time price to pay for every streaming ball game from the Yankees to the Mariners. Even for folks who don't like to purchase apps, this is a pretty attractive deal in order to receive every game all season long. And it's not just the broadcasts - there are stats, interactive features, instant video highlights, and all the things that a baseball fan could want, in addition to choosing from the home team or the away team's announcer team.
You've made your choice. Yes, you cut a sweet deal with satellite radio, but you know all too well that with the meteoric growth of the iPhone ("There's an app for that"), you'd better get mobile and get cool in one fell swoop.
You're a fan. You have a strong interest in following your team (as well as others that compete in their division). So, you do the math. $12 a month for satellite radio - forever. Or you buy an iPhone for $200 (or a Touch if you're stuck with T-Mobile or something), and for an additional $10, you're good to go. You can take the device with you wherever you may roam all summer long.
Of course, on satellite radio, you get all those cool music channels. But on your iPhone, you get AOL Radio, Pandora, thousands of commercial stations, streaming channels, and the "cool factor" that comes with this device.
You're a radio broadcaster. The whole world is moving mobile. There are now 3 billion mobile devices out there - more than the number of TVs, radios, and computers on this planet. It's an industry that is looking pretty recession-proof. Consumers replace their phones every 18 months, many carry more than one, and more and more, they are inseparable. (Most teens sleep with their phones.)
You're streaming, and you're watching those statistics grow, but for the most part, this activity is limited to "tethered listening" on a desktop or laptop. You know you need to start thinking mobile, and every time you open the trades or USA Today, there's another big brand launching their iPhone app. You watch those iPhone commercials on TV, and you very much want to be on that hot-looking desktop.
You want your listeners to be able to take you anywhere - just how radio was when you were growing up, listening on your Walkman. But you've seen the Jacobs Tech Polls, the Arbitron/Edison "Infinite Dial" studies, and you've watched the "Bedroom Project" videos. You know that radio is losing its portability.
Apple may have cut you out of the iPod, the device that eroded radio's mobility, but they're letting you have presence on the iPhone. And It can be done, and for very little money. There are some attractive aggregated apps out there that any broadcaster can become a part of. If you've got a great brand, these can be good places to be, as long as consumers will go through the scrolling effort to find you. Of course, along the way, they may run into many other stations they enjoy, too.
There are also "stationalized apps" - what we're doing here at Jacobs - that will put your station right on the iPhone desktop. Beachfront property where your next door neighbors are Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Pandora.
Major League Baseball knows what it's doing. Just keep your eye on the ball.