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the media radio annual digital

6 Radio Annual sold-out and which have substantial capacity.” A trend that Afstereo have recently identified is that within certain categories, marketers have either not increased spend, or decreased spend. “The marketer is holding the budget steady and buying the number of spots their budget can accommodate, given rate inflation. The number of stations across which they run the campaign is reduced in order to maintain reach and frequency presence across the stations that they’ve remained with,” adds Jacobsen. This targeting and segmenting of media selections will increase competition amongst stations, but is it healthy and sustainable? Stations are under much pressure from clients seeking added value and discounts, however a station has never discounted itself to profitability. Whilst added value can sweeten the deal for clients, stations need to manage their finite stock of inventory and not give away too much in value, which discounts the station’s core proposition. Digital romance Radio’s romance with digital needs to be examined. Adding impetus to a client’s campaign by placing banner ads on station websites is nice to have, but is a distraction. Let’s remember that radio stations are in the business of broadcast radio first and foremost. Listening habits are still such that stations broadcast their content over transmitters – this is the primary engagement interface between the platform and the listener. Digital platforms provide a substantial degree of measurability. Whilst this is important, particularly as new technologies can provide deeper insights into the individuals behind the “digital audience”, stations must continually evaluate the data they receive from their audience to ensure that they are on-target. This is a positive spin-off from digital and social media. Social media has played a substantial role in extending the message of stations, however this serves different purposes for different platforms. News-rich content on platforms like Twitter can drive listeners towards tuning in and perhaps make it easier for a listener to participate in and interact with the content. For newer stations (like POWER 98.7) measurement of Twitter following has been vital. It belies the present research paradigm under RAMS (which thankfully is being superseded) that the station has more Twitter followers than RAMS listeners. The challenge facing media planners and buyers is that they will need to research the landscape more carefully and rely less on automated scheduling technology. We’re already seeing some interesting schisms on “programmatic buying”, which is driving revenue in the digital space. Whilst this makes buying digital easier, there are challenges with the execution, particularly as the actual reach/penetration of campaigns is increasingly being skewed by “bots”. Optimal results Marketers have every right to know where, how and why their money is being spent or not-spent. Some very difficult questions will be posed of media agencies. Hopefully, this does not push radio into the “too hard” pile, logic will prevail and clients will get their messages across the media platforms that work best for their business. From a sales perspective, it will require far more interaction between the client and the station’s programming personnel. Grubb says, “Interaction between sales and programming is not new. Stations that haven’t cracked this yet will struggle to deliver – it’s such a fundamental part of our business model. The priority is to move both disciplines as close to the client brief and strategy as possible. When strong people represent all the critical disciplines (sales, promotions, programming) in conversations with the client, then campaigns are crafted that drive results whilst maintaining editorial integrity.” Whilst this may be time consuming and resource intensive, it will certainly contribute to marketers using the platform optimally and ensuring the best results. After all, programmers must have an innate understanding of their listener, and can help the marketer to understand the best way to communicate with the listener to ensure that the message is clearly received and understood. Like all media in a growth-constrained economy, radio will continue to come under immense pressure. However, as long as it maintains its context and relevance, and most importantly its ease of consumption, it will remain an important media choice for marketers seeking to reach clearly-defined prospects. Nick Grubb


the media radio annual digital
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