CEA sez “Time to get rid of your vinyl, Radio”

From Radio Business Report:

Speaking at a conference in the Netherlands, Consumer Electronics Association honcho Gary Shapiro said, “Broadcasters no longer enjoy a monopoly on content delivery. Ears and eyes once devoted exclusively to broadcasters are now being drawn in by new forms of content and new methods of delivery.” But those able to anticipate where consumers are headed will do just fine, he said. Shapiro was speaking at the IBC2007 Conference, said to be Europe’s largest annual gathering of broadcasters. “The winners over the next 40 years will be those who have the clearest vision,” said Shapiro. “They are able to identify potentially disruptive new channels, recognize consumer trends and yet, go out to meet the challenge.” His advice for broadcasters? Use broadcasting’s spectrum advantage. “As broadcasters, you own the highest quality spectrum there is, able to reach almost every household by geographic region. This enormous bandwidth is more accessible than any other network owner-including cable, satellite and mobile. None is as ubiquitous as the broadcast spectrum. For competitors, updating their networks requires an enormous investment in physical infrastructure, but not for you. So while you may be facing competition from these new technologies, you have something they will never have. As such, you must find new and creative ways to take advantage of this scarce resource in the form of new services to consumers.”

So broadcasters must have vision and must create “new services” for consumers, leveraging our universal presence in listeners’ lives and extending radio beyond its traditional definition into a brand new one.

Shapiro’s advice is the advice of all competitive strategists: To leverage our inherent advantage, not be limited to it. Ultimately, you see, we are in the business of attracting and connecting a large audience with our advertiser clients and helping the former buy what the latter sells.

How much do you know about each individual in that audience? In what ways are you connecting those listeners to your advertisers directly? What fraction of your audience is part of your station’s online community? What new services are you providing on-air, online, and in-person to nurture and profit from your audience? In what ways are you planning NOT to be in the spot business?

Indeed, if I were you I’d pretend that I had no over-the-air spot business at all – but I had a vast audience – how can I make a living under this scenario?

If you can answer that question, you have the key to your future.

The persistent notion that radio is so much bigger and appeals to so many more ears than competing technologies misses the point: It’s not about how big we are, it’s about how relevant we are – to advertisers and listeners alike. It’s about how and where and when we interject ourselves into listeners’ lives and how much they value us for it. Increasingly, advertisers will want engagement, not simply ears. And not simply spots.

It’s about what happens to the share of the pie when that pie is no longer the sole property of radio broadcasters. That share goes in only one direction: Down. That’s why radio’s opportunity is to invade new pies and build up share elsewhere.

Do radio’s leaders have the stomach for this, let alone the vision? I mean the leaders who cut the marketing funds and the research funds and hike up the on-air clutter in order to sustain a certain level of profitability for just a little while longer?

I know major market broadcasters who will flip a format on a multi-million dollar property with zero advance research and zero consequential out-of-the-box marketing in order to establish the new brand.

Does this sound like the work of a visionary?

Or a hobbyist?

RBR comments “we haven’t gotten rid of our vinyl….”

Time to get rid of your vinyl.

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