In 2013, radio will see yet more changes
One of the most far-reaching changes could be in ratings
January 8, 2013
One of the biggest stories in radio in 2013 broke at the end of 2012. Last month Nielsen announced it was acquiring Arbitron in a $.126 billion deal that shocked the media community. Now media buyers are wondering what the deal will mean for radio ratings, which have long been measured by Arbitron. The opportunity to improve on the portable people meter already in place could be on the table in 2013. Media buyers say they’d also like to see traditional radio offer more creative, original platforms for advertising as it competes for ad dollars with the likes of Pandora and satellite radio. Sales reps need to do a better job of selling not just their station but the medium as a whole, which continues to remain relevant despite the rise of so many other new media options. Nancy Haynes, principal at Collins Haynes & Lully in Charlotte, N.C., talks to Media Life about radio’s big trends for 2013, what developments stood out in 2012, and why radio remains an important part of the media mix.
What three trends in radio will you be watching for in 2013?
I’m going to use this question as an opportunity to offer three pieces of advice to radio executives.
One–train your sales people on selling the medium of radio first, your station later – and be self-aware enough to admit that someone might have to train you so that you can train them. The Radio Advertising Bureau’s web site is a good place to start (http://rab.com).
Two–Instead of programming only “to the meters,” please do at least a 50-50 split between programming to the meters and offering good programming.
Three–Give a radio to every child you know, for every gift-giving occasion. My 1-year-old granddaughter already has two from me.
What, if anything, surprised you about radio in 2012? Why?
The announcement of Nielsen’s intention to acquire Arbitron stopped me cold.
Call me optimistic, but I see this as a huge opportunity for improvement in ratings methodology for both media, with more meter-panelists included for radio plus out-of-home measurement added for TV. The challenge will be to get panel participants more in line with the population, with regard to employment and income.
How will new technology influence radio in 2013?
We’ll continue to see a decline in listening via “real” radios, in favor of listening by smartphones and computers.
One troubling issue for me is that most mid- and small-market stations do not offer click-throughs on smartphone listening. This must change. Also, stations need to be selling their streams by CPM gross impressions, not by a unit cost, because advertisers should be comparing radio streaming costs to costs for other internet advertising, which is almost always CPM-based.
Why does radio remain important to media buyers and planners?
As long as baby boomers continue to have money for goods and services, traditional radio will always be an important part of a good media plan. Period.
What are some examples of really innovative advertising or marketing you’re seeing in radio right now?
Can’t recall a one. Sorry, but it’s true.
What is something media buyers and planners should know about radio in 2013?
A well-rounded radio campaign needs to include both broadcast and streaming signals, when available.
My opinion is that the money to include streaming should come from the advertiser’s internet budget, not their radio budget. Likewise, advertising dollars for Pandora, iHeartRadio, etc., should come from the internet budget, with one exception–if you must take money from traditional radio for internet radio, take it from the “in office” station’s budget.
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