International broadcast services company WRN has launched a new product that allows satellite and cable radio stations to display visual content on TV screens.

The ‘radio with pictures’ technology will make it possible to include live graphics, existing web content or interactive SMS and Twitter feeds alongside audio broadcasts.

Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW) is the first of WRN’s clients to take advantage of the product for its Arabic service, which broadcasts to the Middle East on Arabsat and Nilesat.

WRN managing director David Treadway said: “Many radio stations use satellite and cable to extend their reach as these platforms offer relatively low barriers to entry, with lower costs and fewer regulatory hurdles. However audiences prefer to have something on their TV screen rather than it being blank.

“Radio with Pictures addresses this missed opportunity, transforming satellite radio channels on digital TV platforms into full-service television channels but at a fraction of the cost of TV. This enables broadcasters to interact with their audience in a new way whilst also creating potential new revenue streams.”

Features include:

  • Radio stations appear alongside television stations on the Electronic Programme Guide and not via a separate radio menu, widening the potential audience.
  • Web content can be repurposed so that it is used to reach vast TV audiences that may have no internet access or where access may be locally restricted.
  • Listeners’ SMS messages and Twitter tweets can be displayed on the screen increasing audience interactivity.
  • Live visuals from the studio can accompany radio programming or content can be uploaded in advance.
  • Bandwidth requirement is lower than for conventional graphic transmission, meaning costs are kept low while maintaining compatibility with existing set-top boxes.