Virgin Radio is to offer online advertising as a separate medium to enable advertisers to reach an Internet-only audience.
The Internet radio station, Virginradio.co.uk, has previously carried the same ads as Virgin Radio at no extra cost to advertisers.
From October, Virgin will separate the radio and Internet propositions and will charge for them separately. It says this will give advertisers an opportunity to target the Internet audience independently. For the moment, it says, the cost of advertising on the Internet will be “modest”.
Lee Roberts, Virgin Radio’s online development director, says: “We know that the potential for online radio as an independent part of our business is significant. Radio is the only mass medium which has increased its listening as a result of Internet usage, so the market potential for us is enormous.”
Virgin has already set up a dedicated online sales team.
According to Arbitron Webcast Ratings, listeners tuned into Virgin Radio via the Internet for a total of 236,100 hours during July.
MindShare head of radio Howard Bareham says: “This shows the maturity of these Internet products as a standalone medium of big brands.”