What the Writers’ Strike means for Radio

On the surface, not a thing. If anything maybe some folks spent more of their TV time with their radios.

But what will be the longstanding results of this strike on TV? And what is the basic lesson for radio?

Some of that TV time has moved to the Internet, according to a new study by Prospectiv.

Prospectiv CEO Jere Doyle tells Marketing Daily, “Television has lost some people. Habits are hard to break, and they can still watch their favorite shows via the Internet.”

“Consumers have been watching TV less and less over the last 10 years,” says Doyle, “and the writers’ strike has exacerbated this situation. It will really be interesting to see if, when the strike ends, they go back. Once you lose somebody, it’s much harder to get them back.”

“Habits are hard to break.”

“Once you lose somebody, it’s much harder to get them back.”

These are facts that radio has never before experienced. New audience and another beginning has always been just a format change away.

But that was when the universe of radio listening options was limited to the radio.

Today, with radio-like (and radio-plus) experiences enabled by the Internet and mobile technology, every time you lose a listener there’s a good chance he or she scoots to a different medium altogether.

And once that radio medium habit is broken, good luck in attracting that audience back.

This is particularly true for radio’s younger audience, of course. The very younger audience that “nobody wants to buy” and thus nobody wants to program to.

This is not a new conclusion, obviously, but if the TV experience is any guidepost, beware.

Because once we let listeners escape our grasp they are unlikely ever to return to the fold.

No matter how many times you change your format.

This simple fact should be forcing broadcasters to strengthen, not abandon, their efforts to target the young. But no such luck.

Instead, our leaders are letting the waves of “least resistance” carry us out to a lonely sea.

Well done.

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