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Media Intelligence : 2009 - 2010
radio DIGITAL TURNS UP RADIO FREQUENCY The digital offer has ushered in new formats and interactivity. This is also evident in radio’s online platform. The economic climate has seen campaign lead times reduce and renewals for shorter periods, more frequently. Many believe that mobility and free access amongst other attributes will ensure radio’s popularity is maintained. Radio faces the challenge of fragmentation Mark Noakes Sales Director, Macquarie Network What digital radio initiatives have you been undertaking? Our company is currently developing a digital radio strategy. Right now we haven’t implemented any signifi cant initiatives as we don’t feel under any pressure to do so, given the set penetration currently. We’re considering what we can use in terms of content: What programs we’re going to be developing, which ones we can potentially time-shift, and what other markets we can put our content into. There’s a lot more spectrum in the marketplace for us to deploy our content in more diverse geographic regions. How are you integrating across platforms? Our integration comes back to what we do best: that’s news, fi nance and sport and that’s where we are concentrating our crossplatform opportunities. With news we have a news website livenews.com.au – that’s been very successful; with sports – we’ve implemented a website rugbyleaguelive. com.au – underpinning what is a 50,000strong database of rugby league fans. The people within that subscription base are also involved in footy tipping; we’re in touch with that audience at least twice a week so it’s a highly active rugby league community online. The last one is fi nance, which we’re currently building. With the state of the economy, almost everyone over the age of 30 is interested in fi nancial commentary so we’ve put on a daily program called “Money News” with Ross Greenwood. This has been on air for around a month and we’re starting to build that online. What eff ect has the economic downturn had on your clients? All of a sudden, results are back in vogue. There’s less demand for branding campaigns and more demand for direct response campaigns. It’s all about ROI – that’s what we’re fi nding is the biggest demand from advertisers generally. What other challenges is radio facing in the next 6-12 months? It’s the same challenges radio has always had since the introduction of TV: fragmenting media. Now the media landscape is being fragmented more – online, outdoor, ambient, social. Because of its mobility, we believe radio will meet this challenge. You can consume it while you’re in the car, while you’re walking down the street – you don’t need a screen, you don’t need a power point and you don’t need an internet connection. And the last thing is – it’s free. Online the whole model is about data carriage and about people paying for that data bandwith. So for all those reasons, I’m eternally optimistic about radio – it’s got some unique attributes that a lot of media doesn’t have and digital will enhance that offer. What’s happening at Macquarie in the coming year? We think it’s a year to go back to basics. Our company is concentrating on what we do best and that’s produce news and information. We’ve integrated into some online platforms but not many. I think that’s prudent for any media operator at the moment because it is just not the sort of market to be adventurous. Pressure on rates, added value a must Graham Mott Group General Manager, Fairfax Radio Network How is Fairfax Radio integrating across platforms? The integration process is going well and will continue to build. Most of the programs on our talk stations around Australia are current affairs driven, which means we have the resources to cover issues of the day and, in particular, 61 MEDIA Trends + Strategy p60-61,63_radio.indd 60 p60-61,63_radio.indd 60 3/7/09 12:07:44 PM 3/7/09 12:07:44 PM breaking news. The immediacy of breaking news is a real strength for talk radio and the audio from those stations is accessible by Fairfax print and online 24/7. Is Fairfax Radio expecting a return from digital radio in the medium term or will its main focus continue to be on its core analogue radio business? There is no question that digital radio will create new opportunities for advertisers and new listening experiences for our listeners. Although there may be some interest in digital from advertisers wanting to know how it will sound and what kind of opportunities might be available, it is unlikely there will be any signifi cant return for digital until there’s a reasonable number of receivers in all markets. We will monitor this via our relationship with the retailers who are selling digital receivers. In the meantime we will promote digital and work with the retailers and manufacturers in an effort to fl ood the market with digital receivers. While this is happening it is important that we do not take our eye off the ball in our core businesses. What impact has the economic downturn had on your clients’ demands? There are two main things that are occurring during the downturn. One is the demand for “added value” from advertisers and the other is the rate at which we sell. In tough times, rates become an issue for all media.
MT Resource 2010