TV5 cracks Balut Radio online

TV5 has expanded its digital offering to include the country's first personalized internet radio service called Balut Radio, launched this April.

Named after a quirky Filipino street food, it streams primarily Original Pinoy Music (OPM), targeting listeners who love the genre and younger people who are rediscovering local classics.

It could be seen as TV5's version of Pandora Radio, an online radio service popular in the United States. Like Pandora, Balut Radio users can skip and pause songs and make personal playlists. Also, they can share their songs with friends via social network links embedded in the site.

Balut Radio project manager Martin Andanar said that's where their similarities end. Different from Pandora and other sites that stream themed music continuously, Balut Radio made it a point to retain a "radio-like" feel with voice talents.

Andanar himself can also be heard as an online disc jockey at Balut Radio, punctuating a series of songs with witty lines or promoting a TV5 product to break what can otherwise be another boring stream of music.

"We didn't want to be a Pandora clone. Pandora has the advantage today but radio has had the advantage for the last hundred years."

"The way the voices of our radio talents are integrated into our curated and personalized channels in a way that sounds just as good as what you would hear on a broadcast radio station, yet a listener can skip, change channels, pause, replay, personalize, etc... is what we see as our big advantage as more and more personality-less pandoras enter the market,"he said.

Balut Radio is also planning to add more value via a news section which directs users to other TV5 content about weather, sports, politics and current events. In addition, artist interviews and live performance videos will be uploaded to the site in an attempt to be a one-stop-shop for music and information online.

Balut Radio is the newest addition in TV5's newest digital asset composed online news portal, tech portal and the PBAonAKTV app available for Android.

Andanar said they are planning to have a Balut Radio mobile app, further expanding its reach in a country both known for massive internet consumption and mobile device ownership. He also wants to bring Balut Radio to car dash boards and connected TV in the Philippines.

Marketing appeal

While the word is not out if Balut Radio will be selling ad space to tap its audience, its initial reception is promising.

Around two weeks after its live open Beta launch, Balut Radio had registered nearly 1,500 listeners consuming over 10,000 online hours to listen to music.

Another thing that could pique the interest of marketers aside from its inevitable wide reach is metrics - something traditional radio had considerable difficulty in getting.

Balut Radio was developed in partnership with Social Radio, an Oregon-based software company that designs online radio platforms which boasts letting owners track their audience more closely.

Some metrics Andanar said they have access to include number of unique devices, number of distinct user accounts and average percentage of song played, among others, which he said they only found with Social Radio.

"Not only is this level of listening detail and tracking amazing, it's very rewarding for the team to see that the content we're creating for Balut Radio is so sticky."