Not Radio, but R@dio

Not Radio, but R@dio, by Paula Cordeiro (Radio Days Europe, March, 2011)

When NetFM, became better than FM… Much better than online music!

The presentation can be found here

Digital platforms and the variety of online services represent a whole new scenario for media and forces radio to change its business and communication model. At Radio Days, I presented some ideas on how multimedia is changing radio and what radio needs to do to stay relevant to the listeners. Are they listening to the radio, or are they using r@dio?

This presentation is about new approaches to radio that, someday soon, will culminate in the transformation of radio into r@dio. This will be the concept of broadcasting in the future, which can be developed in the form of what I call NetFM, an hybrid solution inspired in different developments already taking place and that can be assumed to be a new platform for radio. In short, I’ll take some your time to talk about the future of what some of you still think about of radio and that I call NetFM.

To whom am I going to talk about? To all of those who think of FM as a complementary platform (an not the other way around, with Internet as a complementary platform) and to all of those who don’t own a radio station, but a radio brand.

The structure of this presentation is based on the idea of R@dio as a brand, for new consumption patterns, as a multi-platform convergent media, available in multimedia devices.

The world as changed. If you still think that you can work, using the radio business old school, you are no longer in business.

Most important changes are occurring in platforms, content, talents, listeners, competitors and branding (brands in radio and radio as a brand).

As for platforms, radio today is available both in digital and analog distribution platforms that have to be combined, to fit the audience needs: HD Radio, Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM), Cable or Online Radio are, sometimes, also available in new devices, such as smart phones, tablets, laptops, Mp3 players, as well as in auto-radios or any other kind of analog device. All this represents new distribution models for radio broadcasting using the on demand logics, available through RSS, newsletters, and most commonly, podcasts. Radio as also new features, like web-only music channels, web-only video channels, blogs, polls and online feedback of many sorts. But radio today is much about talent, and there are new talents getting into radio, with DJ’s becoming Facebook stars and podcasters surpassing some radio DJ’s. Radio is also about new content: in addition to sound, radio has text, video, images, infography. Besides advertising, radio is in direction to adopt new business models, trying to explore the subscription model (which is highly dependable on the target), traffic (based on clicks and visualizations), and, most interesting, the sharing, which isn’t yet, usual but will represent a new way to relate brands, radio stations and listeners. In other words, it will be the future way of producing economic value, through the sharing economy, as Yochai Benkler have already pointed out in his 2004 essay, about the info age market structure, based on peer production. As old listeners are too, becoming e-listeners, radio also have new competitors, represented not only by new devices, but also content, tools and platforms, like online news, online content and, most of all, free content; digital TV and digital radio; social media, as well as Spotify, Pandora, Last FM and many others, iPod, iPhone, iPad or even Facebook and Twitter.

Between platforms, media and social media, did you noticed that I started to talk about brands instead of tools, services or devices?…

This is one of the many reasons that makes me say that you have to look at your radio station as a brand, working for those who already know and follow you, but most precisely, for those you wish that might be following you, being the most valuable, interesting and relevant brand.

Radio stations already started to develop a branding process and in some cases, are starting to develop a brand relation process, between the radio station and other brands, formerly known as advertisers: in these cases, it is an online brand relation, since brands can be on your website paying for the content you have or paying just to be on your website, for the identification between the brand advertising and the radio station audience. But this relation can be also established through content engagement, as brands can be paying for the traffic from yours to their websites or, much more expensive and difficult, paying for the engagement you drive. And since your radio station is already a brand, just some thoughts… Are your DJ’s sub-brands?…

Do you produce branded entertainment?…

Do you allow your listeners to produce user branded content?…

Within all these changes, traditional radio broadcasters may feel a bit lost, loosing profitability. Although there isn’t A way, a specific path to success, there are a few steps your radio station may take to regain: relevance, audience and advertisement.

Think about this… Internet allows us to listen to music. Any music. Internet as also lots and lots of music, any kind of genre, artists and styles.

Is radio still the best place to find music? Is your radio station still the best place to listen to music?

On the other hand, traditional segmentation doesn’t work anymore. Well, it does work, but there are other ways to deliver the right content to the right people: relate with people’s lifestyle and find them within the sub-cultures emerging from the mainstream culture and aesthetic practices.

All of them are intrinsically related: adequate content to your audience and sub-cultures to create engagement, based on relations that may culminate in interaction, if using ideas, events or causes that develop conversations which people share. These conversations will result in notoriety, through word of mouth.

Remember this: do you have your listeners writing to you?…

Do you write them back?…. Do you let them control, customize, add stuff and share?

This will lead to more engagement, more audience, more advertising… To sum up… profitability.

If these steps can offer the directions to PROFITABILITY, it is also important to known what to be aware of, what to produce, what to engage with:

WHAT TO BE AWARE OF?

  • AUDIENCE MEASUREMENT

Audio screens (radio + audio/digital platforms); efficiency, ROI (ads), relevance (dj’s), adequacy  (audience); what’s been said about you (social media search and analysis).

  • AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT

Enriching content/ generating conversations: content promotions (radio station programs on Facebook), content production (radio networks and UGC), interaction (radio hosts and DJ’s) and branding (radio shows and radio hosts).

  • MONETIZE CONTENT/INTERACTIVE BRANDING – measure and optimize

Interactive Branding and new advertising formats (brand visibility metrics). Formats (Branded Generated Content) – content production, conversations, engagement, relevance.

  • MULTI-PLATFORM DISTRIBUTION/ NEW ADVERTISING FORMATS

Integrated media measurement (audio screens measurement)

  • ON DEMAND

Convenience and comfort of listening

 

WHAT TO PRODUCE?

Something you still call radio, but it’s quite different from a unidirectional, live production and, in short, it’s R@dio, all audio content in one single platform, for all the available devices. It is:

I something – made for me or by me

@ something in relation to syndication and linkage, to share with others and receive updates

E something – representing the convergence between electronics, informatics and telecommunications

R@dio is the new concept, that is more interactive, more participatory, shareable, asynchronous, repeatable, reproducible, searchable, customizable, discontinuous, hyper-textual, not linear, convergent and on-demand… NetFM is the solution: on the cloud content, with your media digest available in one single page and your audio experience in one single platform, using and intelligent interface, available in different devices, combining the analog with online and/or digital broadcasting, to respect the everywhere, anywhere, anyhow model of contemporary media, based on relevance, advice and trust.

 

  • Podcast – let them have on this page the syndicated podcasts they love
  • Radio Podcast – let them have on this page the syndicated Radio podcasts they love
  • Live Streaming – let them choose which station to listen to (and let them change it once in a while)
  • I-content – News (inews); Traffic/Weather Reports; Lifestyle; Agenda (the i means that is customisable for their region and interests)
  • Videos – choice of Tube Channels
  • FB Mural – their own group or the preferred  radio station page

Don’t be afraid to lose audience because you allow them to add to your page streams/podcasts they like – it’s a way to earn their trust and to be aware of trends and satisfy your audience, producing similar content.

Your business is Audio + Engagement: the radio station engages trough content (relevant), advice (people’s likes) and trust, since you have to become the online brand they trust the most and use for manage their online usage. Your radio station must become a recognizable brand that people trust and use to browse the web – your website should be THEIR HOMEPAGE, integrating their media digest, customizable through widgets and related to social networks.

Radio is much of all, audio content and engagement, since one of these days, people will become bored with all the pseudo-relations they have in social networks and will return to old models of social behavior. Your radio station website must be there, by then!

If it’s customizable, you’ll be serving personal interests and don’t depend on fashionable trends.

HOW TO ENGAGE OR WHO TO ENGAGE WITH?

You’ll have to know who’s listening to you and who you would like to get… Today, we no longer have just listeners… We have online listeners and e-listeners, there is, FM listeners that are also online listeners…

a) Online Listeners are:

  • experts with tech;
  • intensive web users;
  • music lovers (often search about it);
  • part/active on Social Networks;
  • online shopping/banking

 

b) FM Listeners (also online listeners) are:

  • followers in tech;
  • convenience web users;
  • listen to brand they know from FM;
  • lazy searchers (they say they don’t have time);
  • part of Social Networks (low activity);
  • specific buying (travels, culture)

Be aware that people in different age ranks have similar listening and media consumption patterns. Within each age group, you’ll have to find your target, since these groups (online listeners and e-listeners) don’t represent people, just trends in listening behavior.

Smaller groups can be found not by age of social class segmentation but with lifestyle, tech profile: the niche market somehow, have become the market of one. Therefore, some aspects to be attentive to are:

1. PRECISE SEGMENTATION

  • TECH Profile (platforms, devices) – length, intensity, frequency of Internet use
  • LIFESTYLE/DEMOGRAPHICS – sex, age, income, education
  • GEO – targeting

 

2. INTEGRATED MEDIA MEASUREMENT/ REAL TIME ANALYSIS

  • Impressions/clicks/return
  • Streaming and behavioral analytics (Platforms and devices: ratings, panels, online metrics, mobile metrics)
  • Syndication

3. TO KNOW (audience)

  • Who they are
  • What they want
  • What they do
  • Where they are

It is important to be aware were people are (devices and platforms they use) and act according to people’s behavior:

Internet isn’t controlled by you. People use the web to work, leisure and to improve social ties; there’s Professional, Media, Branded and User Generated Content. Don’t forget that you are an invitee as everyone else!… Once again, be trustworthy, relevant and advice them. In this “link economy”, find why people share a link.

Usually, they do it because it means something to them, gives them high social capital (becoming those who find/recommend), it’s fun to do (mostly funny UGC productions or even MGC) and because it generates conversations (discussions and/or responses among their social networking friends).

In short,

  • Add value
  • Be useful
  • Create feelings (good feelings)
  • Relate with people’s experiences
  • Provide them experiences
  • Let people deliver your message

 

 


 

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