Yahoo, We7, IAB Team For Experimental ‘Cloud Radio’

The Technology Strategy Board, a UK government-funded exploratory digital helper agency, is giving £1.8 million to a new consortium comprising Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), BT (NYSE: BT), the Internet Advertising Bureau and digital agency Somethin’ Else, to develop a “cloud radio” service codenamed “Apollo”.

“The partners will build prototypes for the cloud radio project, with a view to developing a working product by next year,” says the announcement.

“The focus for Apollo will be to develop next-generation personal radio and music services that can work across any internet-connected device, such as mobiles, tablets and web TVs. Potential plans could include using Facebook’s API to tap into data and creating hybrid services that combine personalised music and audio information.”

We 7 appears to be a lead partner and could be a gainer. The unlimited-music service repositioned in November to place more emphasis on “radio”, having concluded that consumers prefer hearing unprogrammed streams of relevant music than picking from a neverending catalogue of available tunes. Apollo would seem to be an enlargening of that idea.

We 7 was also already allied with Yahoo, which it last year tapped to handle its ad sales around its music streams.

Somethin’ Else digital director Paul Bennun: “Wouldn’t it be useful to get traffic updates on your car radio saying the roundabout up ahead is blocked? With location sensitivity, we’ll be able to editorialise audio content that would help you know that.”

While many media are now being reborn as TCP/IP carriers and although in-home radio over WiFi is emminently possible, out-of-home internet radio whilst on the move is a significant challenge.