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Radio: The BBC Is Trying to Tell You Something


BBC-produced radio and TV will still exist, of course, but they will be reorganized to reflect changes in audience behavior and in media definitions that I and others have been articulating for years.

[BBC] director-general, Lord Tony Hall, believes an organizational overhaul is necessary as digital media continues to blur the lines between television, radio and online. In a speech before Easter, according to The Telegraph, Hall will unveil a new BBC that is organized “into content and audience-led divisions.”

“Content and audience-led divisions” mean that content will be organized according to the way consumers see and hear and seek out that content, not by the channels of distribution that made that content famous.

So “radio” and “television” as categories will vanish to be replaced by “BBC Entertain” and “BBC Inform.” After all, consumers are looking for entertainment and information, not for TV or radio per se.

You will likely see any media company that has a platform encompassing both TV and radio following the BBC model, because it’s the sensible model to follow.

And for platforms which are audio-only or audio-dominant (e.g., radio, online radio, podcasting, etc.) we’ll see these categories merge to form a broader category called “audio.”

Now I know what you’re thinking…What does it matter what they call it?

Well I’ll tell you.

Definitions matter because if you don’t understand the true parameters of your category you can be blindsided by disrupters you didn’t even imagine as competitors.

This is what happened in the classic example of airlines disrupting the train industry because the latter thought they were in the train business rather than the transportation business. Oops!

This is happening again today as online radio and now podcasting chip away at agency radio budgets because a radio spot is a radio spot and a listener is a listener whether spots and listeners connect on FM, AM, online radio, in a podcast, etc. In other words, use whatever definition you want, but count on the advertiser’s definition to fast become platform agnostic.Count on the advertiser's definition to become platform agnostic Click To Tweet

Definitions also matter because people like to stick with competitors who look, feel, smell, and taste just like them. Silo workers love their silos. So radio folks go to radio conferences and podcasters go to podcast conferences and nobody in radio goes to social media conferences. But if you never mingle with people who are in a different corner of your space, you will never learn and you will never grow, and you will forever be vulnerable to clever competitors with disruptive designs on your business model.

Indeed, that is why I created hivio. Under one roof will gather leading thinkers and doers in radio, online radio, podcasting, agencies, and more.

Speakers and Q&A’s include NPR’s VP Programming and Audience Development, the CEO of Virgin Radio International, the Chief Content Officer of the hot podcasting company Panoply, the Co-CEO of the amazing contest/experience platform Omaze, the Co-Founder of viral audio discovery platform CLAMMR, the SVP of Ad Product Sales and Strategy for Pandora, Hollywood’s go-to guy for social media for movies and TV, Re/code’s media editor extraordinaire, an independent filmmaker who produces an amazing audio series, and more.

All on a balmy day in Los Angeles in June.

Get your tickets while they last.

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