The GWR Group has announced it is investing pounds 6.5 million in
the launch of an internet company created to support its national and
local radio brands.
Ecast Ventures will initially launch two websites to back up GWR’s new
digital radio brands as well as its existing national and local
Koko.co.uk will launch nationally in April, followed by a local roll out
starting in Swindon, and will provide local news and entertainment.
The second website Music-Radio.com, will operate as an entertainment
portal designed to back up all GWR’s music brands. The site will provide
a directory of radio channels, including Classic FM, digital channels
Planet Rock and Core, as well as GWR’s local stations.
Although GWR will be the sole corporate shareholder of the new company,
Ecast Ventures will remain a separate company.
The venture is to be set up by Simon Ward, commercial director at GWR.
Sales on the new web portals will remain temporarily within GWR’s sales
operation Opus, as well as local sales teams in each respective
However, Ward confirmed the new company will assemble a team of around
20 people including a new content, commercial and development
GWR’s local radio stations will also recruit people to sell the internet
and local radio content.
Ward said: ’Ecast Ventures will hopefully bring in new streams of
revenue, both from internet advertising and e-commerce
Ward continued that both new sites will be promoted across GWR’s radio
stations, which now attract an audience of ten million listeners.
Initially, the internet investment arm is offering GWR equity in the new
venture in exchange for airtime and hopes to attract new-media
advertisers that fit in with the content of the new portals.
The GWR Group operates 37 local radio licences including Trent FM in
Nottingham, GWR FM in Bath, Bristol and Swindon, and Q103 FM in