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Digital Kills the Radio Star


Digital Kills the Radio Star

At a time when many countries have or consider discontinuing FM (Frequency Modulation), is Digital now succeeding in what Video...

4 Minutes Read

At a time when many countries have or consider discontinuing FM (Frequency Modulation), is Digital now succeeding in what Video never achieved?

User journey, customer experience, omnichannel, algorithm, hyperlocalisation and whatever else it takes to stay relevant in digital age, whilst nothing in essence changes. The media industry is trying to rebrand existing capabilities to posture as business product shops, or worse – delusional claims of disruptors and start-ups.

But let us start with some figures (for the UK). According to Ofcom, the UK’s regulator, almost 75% of both analogue and DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) listeners in the UK are aged over 35, compared to 57% of online listeners. At the same time interestingly the number of digital radios sold in 2017 in the UK was lower than in the previous year, down from 1.6 million to 1.5 million, representing 37% of total radio sales. The most common way to consume digital radio is via DAB (76%), online (16%) and TV (14%).

Worryingly, as FM is being discontinued over the coming decade or two, only 23% of all North American broadcasters generate at least 6% of their revenue from Digital. The conclusion is therefore that we are likely to see a significant push from broadcasters to increase this number to preserve current revenue levels.  

While the clock is ticking, revenue dollars must move quickly from FM to Digital 

Against aggressive timescales, radio stations are now on a mission to empower the own organisation to be innovative, entrepreneurial and more collaborative. To this end, employees need the tools and importantly the means to work and collaborate in a reliable, responsive and scalable way.

True digital leaders in media, those with an integrated front and back-end, and strong digital growth and innovation, are rare. Dynamic, flexible and scalable cloud infrastructure, is one part of delivering the mission, as spending on new technology is projected to increase by 50% in 5 years. End-to-end operating models that blend technology and business product views, will connect audience experience to middle (data) and back-office (virtualised infrastructure) processes.

The path to digital leadership rests on coupling talent to a strategic vision. Radio stations and media firms in general, all have the ingredients to become part product engines. They have creative and engineering talent, business acumen honed in their journalistic work and, above all else, a keen appreciation of how audiences think and behave.

However, the crux of the brief is to build products and services to enable radio stations to see things from the listener’s perspective, and create brand experiences driven by the mindset of the audience.

So dig in, face the challenge, and take the necessary steps to help your radio station succeed in Digital.

As an editorial or commercial leader, it is your job to champion Digital, lead your people in the right direction, and give them the tools and guidance that they need to succeed.

It all starts with ensuring that your station is accessible to your audiences everywhere. By leveraging multiple channels to reach your listeners and extend your brand, you increase your overall engagement.

Once you have strong engagement through multiple different channels, you can then monetise them to provide significant revenues to your radio station. As traditional on air revenues for radio remain stagnant, Digital is essential for the industry to see continued revenue growth.

Additionally, today’s listeners expect to be able to access entertainment and media whenever and wherever it is convenient to them. For radio to evolve, it is essential you connect with your audiences through Digital. Redefining and embracing entertainment as Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) experiences that celebrate audience participation.

So to stay on air, radio must embrace Digital with new business models that generate revenue by monetising content using all digital channels with the listener at its core. 

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