Last week in Nashville, radio executives from around the world gathered at the Radio Show to participate in educational seminars, discover the latest in new technologies and to meet old friends, and new, to exchange stories of the future of the industry.
It was a phenomenal event that brought radio's leaders and innovators together.
As Founder and CEO of SoCast, a leading technology platform that helps make digital growth easy for radio, I am enthused by the positive impact digital is having on the industry leading to a growing optimism the medium will continue to thrive for years to come.
The optimism is being driven by 3 key trends:
1. Digital ad & revenue growth
What a difference a year makes! At the 2015 Radio Show, the mood was “doom and gloom” as the collective mindset of the industry was focused on the negative impact the digital landscape was having on revenue growth and the threat social media, streaming and podcasts had on content distribution.
Fast-forward to The Radio Show in 2016, the talk is of radio brands making the transition too digital, viewing it as an opportunity to reach audiences in new ways and to drive incremental advertising revenue growth. With the onset of new metrics available to measure success, broadcasters are able to confidently justify investments in money and people.
2. Stations must transition from ad sales to marketing solution companies
For years, radio has been the medium of choice for local businesses to reach target audiences to drive awareness, foot traffic and sales. Traditionally, the :15 and :30 second on-air advertising spot has been the conduit to reaching listeners. However, as the digital landscape evolves not only do local businesses have more advertising options, but radio stations have a larger toolbox of advertising channels to offer. As a result, advertising sales reps can no longer simply rely on on-air sales to drive revenue; rather, the recent trend in the industry is to reposition sales reps as marketing solution providers or consultant listening to the needs of advertisers and providing a multi-layered media plan to reach listeners on multiple platforms.
3. Digital platforms are fast becoming a necessity for programming and sales
As the “new norm” of the digital landscape continues to gain momentum within the radio industry, stations are increasingly looking to invest in a digital platform to help manage content development and distribution, grow advertising sales and increase audience engagement. With the influx of digital solutions in the marketplace, the consensus amongst broadcasters is they are looking for three key characteristics in a platform supplier:
1) User friendly - the platform must be user-friendly especially as existing human resources may not be as digitally savvy today as required.
2) Product innovation – if broadcasters are going to invest they want to ensure as their digital footprint grows their platform partner will continue to offer updates and innovative new functionality on an on-going basis.
3) Partnership – it is important to radio brands they not only invest in a platform, but a partnership with the solution provider who offers on-going support and coaching for their internal team.
Overall, a big leap forward in 2016 for the acceptance of the digital landscape. I am looking forward to what 2017 will bring.
Is your radio brand looking to grow their digital revenue and engagement? Speak to a SoCast Digital Specialist to learn how.