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Finland: a radio app that does more than you’d expect

The Supla radio app from Finnish radio company Nelonen Media is more than repackaged live streams: with additional tricks we can all learn from

By James Cridland
Posted 23 February 2016, 11.52pm est

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When you’re developing an app for your station it’s really easy to get away with as little as possible. A live stream, a big logo, maybe some now playing information, job done.

However, the Finnish media company Nelonen Media set their target a little higher when they built their new app, called Supla.

They put all their radio stations in there: live and on-demand. They own a TV channel, too, and realised that they could also put selected TV shows as audio within the app. You could easily do this with things like American Idol, for example, or most game shows. And then they added additional live audio channels, like extra sports commentaries.

Then it gets more interesting still: because they’ve invested in their own “Supla original” content that you can only get within the app. One of them, a list show from two authors, has already had over a million listens - not bad for a country with only 5.4 million people.

Flushed with that success, they’re adding audio books, as well as independent podcasts. And this marks the real difference between Supla and other radio apps - because, as they say, it isn’t a radio app. Instead it contains everything AUDIO that listeners wish to consume.

On a more technical level, there are obvious but regularly missed things. There’s a history of what you’ve heard, so you can go back to stuff you’ve heard before; you can make your own playlists of content you want to listen to, and when you get to the end of one episode it’ll automatically play the next one for you.

Monetisation is through targeted advertising: both geotargeting and registration data. They plan to use the app to test new formats, too, and they’re planning ad-free subscription models.

Supla was launched in November last year, and so far it’s more than doubled the on-demand audio that the company makes available.

So what more could you put in your radio app? Are there local podcasts you can partner with? What other assets can you use? It’s interesting to see what you CAN do, if you can escape the transmitter mindset, and instead, think about the content you have and how you can best use it.

James Cridland — James is the Managing Director of media.info, and a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. His website is at james.cridland.net, where you can subscribe to his weekly newsletter.
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