12/07

The Importance of being “Platform-Agnostic”

From the news:

ESPN/ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer told a gathering at the UBS global media conference yesterday that his firm is “looking at that now.” [iPod distribution] Bodenheimer added that his network has changed, becoming platform-agnostic. “We’re not just in the TV business anymore,” he said. “We’re going to the table as a sports media company.”

My biggest beef with the radio industry is our stubborn reluctance to be platform-agnostic.

If, in fact, we can better think of ourselves as movie studios than movie theaters, then it’s the content, not the channel of distribution, that becomes key.

This, more than anything else, is why HD Radio is a massive distraction to the true goal we should have as an industry: Developing original and proprietary content and distributing it across every conceivable channel.

Maybe one day the radio trades will write about this, but I’m not holding my breath.

* = required field
  • Jeff Schmidt

    We can’t honestly expect executives to be “agnostic” (indifferent) about the platform when they’ve spend the last 9 years and billions in cash accumulating a single platform.
    Oddly, in that worldview, HD is probably the only thing that makes any sense at all to them.
    One such radio executive was recently heard saying the best thing about the radio “business” is that it owns both the content (it actually rents it) AND the medium of it’s distribution.
    Ooops.

  • http://www.mercradio.com Mark Ramsey

    Well, Jeff, I hear you. But you might also presume that ESPN might say the same thing.
    Then again, ESPN creates this thing called “content”

  • Steven

    Perhaps a lot of this is linked to the fact that today, most stations are owned by radio-only companies. Even Infinity, which is part of a larger media company, keeps radio very distinct from the rest of the operation, with its own chairman. Disney is selling off its radio. Fox, Time-Warner, and GE don’t own any radio. So the major media companies have a pretty distant view of radio. Which is different from the 60s and 70s, when the TV networks and the radio networks were better integrated.
    So as a result, pretty much everything a radio company is interested in doing relates to its principle system of distribution. At least when NBC owned radio, there was a connection with an electronics and technology manufacturer. Now, no radio company has such a connection. Which keeps it isolated from technically innovative ideas.

  • Jeff Schmidt

    We can only imagine what radio might sound like if the group heads were as passionate about building and accumulating content assets as they are concerned with accumulating sticks.

  • Peter Childs

    These comments depress me! As someone who’s developing applications for station web sites I wonder if they will see the value in getting the audience on line.
    To me it’s not just that radio is losing listener hours – it’s that advertisers are changing their buying patterns, increasing online spending at the expense of traditional media. In this online world they face new, well-financed competitors whose economies, expertise and content breadth are staggering. Without compelling web sites, and with diminishing on-air audience hours – it’s a perfect storm for radio.
    Of course you’re right that they need to embrace new platforms and understand how to use these platforms to reinforce each other, their brand and ultimately their livelihood. Having a regulated medium as the core of a multi-platform delivery system could be a huge competitive advantage – even for online content.
    My experience speaking to stations echoes these comments. The longer they wait, the harder rebuilding, or transferring, the audience and advertising base becomes.

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