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Media Intelligence : Media Trends+Strategy 2012
40 MEDIA Trends + Strategy radio Seeking an online presence Accountability is the key What are the biggest challenges for network owners currently? Attracting talented people to the industry; expediting the commercial return on digital and online investments; and equitable legislative framework between radio licence holders and emerging digital businesses. How is digital transforming the market? Where do you start? Changing consumer behaviour is impacting all media consumption and radio is not immune but there is a real, tangible and strongly positive link between digital, online and radio. As an industry, we should embrace more of the possibilities and not ignore them. Our traditional strengths of localism, intimacy, immediacy and personality-led content will prove even more resilient in the digital future. We already have the trust and loyalty of listeners and we should use technology to enhance this relationship and not be afraid to offer new services and commercial opportunities. What are the greatest challenges facing the sector in the next 12 months? Uncertain consumer sentiment and a struggling retail environment leading to reduced advertising spends and shorter planning cycles. Having said that, radio is a very robust medium and a strong performer in tougher economic times. Clients trust its effectiveness and its ability to deliver results. What new technologies or platforms do you see transforming the commercial proposition of the radio experience? Does “... transforming the commercial proposition of the radio experience” imply that commercial radio is under threat? I don’t believe it is. It’s a vibrant, profitable and, despite a plethora of new technologies, an increasingly consumed medium. We continue to invest in our FM licences. We invest in online, digital radio, mobile streaming, pushing the boundaries on creative and integrated content. But that is not to say we dismiss how consumers will use new platforms in the future. We must move faster, be more adaptable or else run the risk of being dictated by advancements in technology. We should be the drivers. aPN has been in acquisition mode of late - are there any assets in the radio sector that you are looking at? ARN is a joint venture between APN News & Media and Clear Channel International and the Board has set a very clear vision for the company. We will look at any opportunity and evaluate stringently to see if it fits with our strategic direction. However, we remain very focused on our current assets and are aggressively improving the overall performance of our core business. What is the next big thing game changer? Improving audience measurement and providing greater accountability to advertisers is the game-changer. Advanced tracking technologies, electronic measurements, online diaries all offer enormous potential. More than ever, we must prove radio’s effectiveness and ROI to clients. Do it right and we will secure incremental revenue to the medium. But as an industry, we must act fast. Ciaran Davis CEO Australian Radio Network What is the progress on the digital radio rollout? It is now two years old, across the five capital cities with 940,000 or 7.6% listening each week. That is quite good progress, even though it is not a replacement technology for analogue. There is a fair way to go in getting a national footprint, particularly in the way that DAB will get into regional areas. Car manufacturers need to know that drivers will be able to access digital radio wherever they are: they want a national solution. Radio is unique as it’s a highly consumed media with lots of radio sets out there. To actually create an imperative to change everyone’s device is a big effort. According to retail statistics 500,000 digital radios have been sold in the last two years but that’s versus 50 million radios in the market. We have done a good job in what is an early part of the process. Will internet radio kill broadcast radio? What will be the outcome? In my view broadcast radio and Internet radio will co-exist in the future. One of the great things about Internet radio is the ability to personalise. I think it’s fertile ground for broadcasters to explore. The key is great content, localisation and great personalities and, if you do that, the future is bright. Wherever Internet radio is growing – such as in the UK with Spotify – traditional radio audiences also continue to grow. People will move to Internet radio, that is certain, but equally they will move to broadcast radio if the content is good. What are the greatest challenges facing the sector in the next 12 months? Largely commercial radio is based on advertising and we are very sensitive to the prospering of the local economy and international financial effects. Advertising-based businesses tend to ride the cycle and at the moment it is pretty flat. We have to convince advertisers to get through the flat times and radio has been resilient in the tough times. We have been less challenged than other advertising-based platforms such as the print medium. What new technologies or platforms do you see transforming the commercial proposition of the radio experience? Most radio broadcasters are looking at their online presence to supplement what they do through rich content and visuals that provide a loop back to the radio experience. It is about creating a deeper circle back to our listeners. We know that we can drive traffic to web and there are legitimate ways to drive advertisers there to. Mobile is the other key thing. We know that 70%-80% of our audience at some time in the last four weeks has listened to our broadcast from a different device or platform. We are looking at online and streaming, what our app strategy is. Cathy O’Connor CEO DMG p38-40_radio.indd 40 28/11/11 2:30:09 PM
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