International Film Festival Radio Service Plans to Add More Languages

FRED Film Radio will add 10 more channels by March.

TRIESTE, Italy -- A multilingual radio station that aims to give listeners worldwide the inside track on film festivals will add ten new channels, with additional languages, by March.

FRED Film Radio, which calls itself "the festival insider," will add Bulgarian, Czech, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, Greek, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Slovak to its existing range of nine European languages, three Asian and Arabic, founder Federico Spoletti says.

The London-based station, which is streamed over the Internet, smart phones and other mobile devices, currently has 15 channels that include Europe's major languages such as English, German and French.

It also operates two niche services, Fred Extra; for press conferences, workshops and seminars; and Fred Entertainment, for light entertainment and music. It holds six British licences for the channels that play music.

Launched at the Venice Film Festival in 2011, Fred Film Radio has broadcast from Cannes and Berlin and covered other festivals, including Busan and Argentine's LatAm Film Market, Ventana Sur.

Spoletti, a native of Udine, Italy who trained as a chartered accountant at Trieste University before setting up a subtitling and translation company in London, aims to promote independent cinema and give listeners worldwide the "film festival experience."

"The idea is to offer more in-depth information and targeted entertainment to those who are actually there but also attract people who may not be “film audience” yet, but are in some way attracted by the world of cinema, by what films allow one to discover, in terms of becoming familiar with different cultures," Spoletti told The Hollywood Reporter.

Speaking at the When East Meets West industry sidebar of the 25th edition of the Trieste Film Festival, he added: "We have a very specific audience made up of film festival lovers, film buffs, filmmakers, students, film students, journalism students, and film industry professionals as well, but are keen to develop our audience further."

Recent figures published by Edison Research suggest that the audience for Internet radio is growing fast.

The research, commissioned by services operating in the United States, found that Internet radio is used by the majority of online Americans (53 percent); that 83 percent of smartphone owners listen to some kind of Internet radio on their mobile devices; 32 percent of Internet radio listeners said that they are listening to 'a lot more' of the medium than they were one year ago; and 26 percent of Internet radio users said that their listening is mostly "new time" -- time not previously filled with audio of any kind.

The study also found that time spent per week is about three times higher for weekly online radio listeners (11 hours and 56 minutes) than for weekly online video viewers (4 hours).

Spoletti hopes to catch more of those listeners internationally by giving them access to niche services in their own languages that can be listened to in real time or downloaded via podcast for later.

Daily listening figures for the service currently range between 21,000 via the website and 26,000 on a smartphone app during festivals, to between 10,500 and 12,600 respectively when there isn't a festival going on.