Traditional radio still dominates the audio landscape as one of the most stable in traditional media. However, heading into 2012, there are growing signals that raise questions about its future. Yes, more than nine out of ten adults listen to AM/FM radio each week, but most Americans spend more time with newer technologies and claim these have more “impact” on their lives.
The death of radio has been regularly predicted ever since tape deck players were installed in vehicles. One of the reasons radio has outlived predictions is because of the real-time live content. With 3G and LTE/4G wireless networks, people now have the ability to stream content directly to their vehicles through their smartphones, creating a sort of “personal” radio station.
In a media world where consumers decide what news they want to get and how they want to get it, the future will belong to those who not only understand the public’s changing behavior, but can also target content and advertising to snugly fit the interests of each user.
Pandora, Internet radio, satellite radio, podcasts – these streams did not exist years ago and are platforms that are seeping into what the industry, at one time, considered its safest and most captive audience – people listening in their cars.
Pandora Radio is an automated music recommendation that plays musical selections similar to song suggestions entered by a user. It is not one station or stream; it is a group of different streams. The Pandora website consists of dozens of formats, music collections and playlists, covering dozens of different music genres. It does not have personalities, local news, weather or traffic; it’s the audio equivalent of solitary confinement.
“With the 2012 political campaign season in full swing, advertisers realize that personalized, internet radio is a powerful platform to reach a desired set of voters,” said Pandora’s Chief Revenue Officer John Trimble. “Pandora’s new targeting features maximize effectiveness of ad spend that has historically been wasted reaching voters outside of election districts. Political, national and local advertisers all benefit from our scale, precision targeting and personalization to reach a passionate and engaged audience on Pandora.”
Pandora’s users are registered, so advertisers can target audiences more specifically by factors like age and gender, versus traditional radio, which is limited to geographic and time of day targeting. And Pandora virtually doubled its third-quarter 2011 revenue compared to 2010. Total revenue was $75.0 million, a 99% year-over-year increase; advertising revenue was $66.0 million, a 102% year-over-year increase. Subscription and other revenue was $9.0 million, an 80% year-over-year increase.
Another area to pay attention to are podcasts, recorded audio segments available through the Web. While taking hold in 2004 with the launch of the iTunes Podcast section, podcasts are online formats developed as audio files that can be downloaded and listened to.
The Digital Politics Radio show is a political leader in the use of podcasts. Host Karen Jagoda started the show in November 2007 for the San Diego Union Tribune’s SignOnSanDiego web radio network. Still going strong in 2012, Digital Politics Radio is now being carried on GabRadio.com and continues to be available from Stitcher.com and iTunes.
What makes podcasts like Digital Politics Radio so useful and successful?
1. Accessible: On demand information in digestible 15 minute segments that can be listened to from the web or downloaded to an MP3 player. For those who like to multi-task this is an ideal length to listen to before being distracted by something else.
2. Behind the Scenes: Insights on emerging trends from experts across the political food chain means the show provides examples of best practices, lessons learned, and provocative hints about what some campaigns and advocates will be using in coming months.
3. Shareable: Interviews can be posted on web sites, social nets and blogs and shared on twitter so guests can promote their expertise in an audio format. While Facebook posts, tweets and photos are meaningful, hearing the voice of an expert conveys the enthusiasm and depth of knowledge in a way that resonates in a unique way.
“The audience for this material is growing,” said Karen Jagoda, President of E-Voter Institute. “The use of technology in campaigns is reaching a tipping point. I like to dig at assumptions about the way it has always been done and ask how the web, mobile or other digital technology can make campaigns and governments operate in more cost-effective ways.”
Traditional media is still important – and will continue to be so – but it can only carry you so far in today’s marketing environment. The greatest success will come from finding the right combination of messaging channels to achieve the greatest amount of promotion possible – a blend of traditional media with new media.
Image via _sarchi
About the Author Cami Zimmer is President of Campaign Touch, a mobile and digital strategy agency providing consulting, mobile app/SMS development services and online media buys. Zimmer started her career at the White House, and has spent the last seven years as an entrepreneur, focusing on project development, sales/marketing, management and business development. She can be reached at email@example.com Read more from this author