NAB: Want to interact? Dial #YES

YES Communications have a new interactive mobile phone service for radio listeners in the US. Dialling #YES (#937) on a mobile phone connects listeners to a sophisticated voice service that allows them to identify, rate, share and (importantly, no doubt) buy any song that’s been played on participating stations in the last 24 hours. Listeners can also participate in live polls and promotions.

The service goes live in the autumn – and will provide access to play lists from MTV, MTV2, VH1 and 2,500 radio stations. The service will therefore need to keep track of 600,000 songs in a 24 hour period.

The YES service is free to radio stations and costs the user US$0.79 (€0.66) per call, plus US$0.20 (€0.17) per minute. Radio stations then get a cut of the revenue for promoting the service.
“YES turns more than 600,000 songs per day into advertisements for themselves. The 2,500 stations we offer have about 75 million listeners at any given moment, so we provide a response platform for 45 trillion impressions every day,” said Daniel Goldscheider, CEO of YES Networks, Inc. “It will be a great tool for radio to turn listeners into active participants, to get deeper insight and to open a new and recurring revenue stream.”

The service reminded us vaguely of Visual Radio, but seems somewhat backward by comparison with Nokia’s project.

As previously reported, Nokia are rolling out Visual Radio to stations in Helsinki, allowing users to view video, take part in polls, quizzes and games, and download songs, ringtones and graphics. Whilst the number of tracks that YES deals with is certainly impressive, the service itself trails way behind Visual Radio in terms of scope and interactivity – we believe it’s another strong indicator that the mobile phone market is far less well-developed in the USA.

We don’t think the Finns will be losing any sleep over this one.

Yes Communications

A demo of Visual Radio

Published by

Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?