Astral Radio to Launch Mobile Streaming Applications Across Canada

by Gaurav Kheterpal on December 1, 2010

There’s good news for music buffs across Canada – Astral Media announced Monday it will provide mobile streaming applications for all of the company’s 83 Canadian radio stations in early 2011. The Astral Media apps will be launched on iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices in collaboration with UBC Media Group’s Unique Interactive of the U.K. and GrooveWorx, an international music house and exclusive North American distributor of UBC Media.

Astral’s mobile apps will also allow listeners to enter contests, use social networking, stream live music events, buy music and interact directly with on-air personalities and with each other. As a passionate music lover, I will be eagerly awaiting the launch of Astrals’ apps next year.

IMO, the recent explosion of mobile app stores has done a world of good for the radio industry. Radio station apps are becoming increasingly popular and seem to be gaining traction amongst satellite radio providers. In fact, I’m somewhat surprised that it took this long for Astral, the nation’s largest private-sector radio company, to chalk out its mobile plans. 

Talk about competition and I have no doubt that Astral has already lost ground due to its late-mover disadvantage. CBC apps for the iPhone and iPad have received an overwhelming user response and rave reviews.  Astral will also be under fierce competition from arch rivals – Corus, CTV (CHUM Radio) and Rogers in this keenly contested segment. The iPhone app for Rogers currently provides access to its 52 stations. Corus apps are already available for all major mobile platforms and have witnessed more than 400,000 downloads so far. The company is aggressively working on its second mobile app aimed at streaming news-talk radio stations.

Interestingly, Apple has recently been accused of barring all single-station radio applications from the iPhone and iPad.  DJB Radio Apps, a company which has been building iPhone apps for radio stations since April 2010, had 10 radio station apps rejected by Apple on November 10. In its defense, Apple says that it has barred a single developer who “attempted to spam the app store with hundreds of variations of essentially the same radio app and that is against our guidelines.”

None the less, this one-off incident doesn’t undermine the growing popularity of mobile radio station applications. I’m glad that Astral is joining the gang sooner than later.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca >. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com > by: RSS>, Twitter >, Identi.ca >, or Friendfeed >

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