I just finished reading a post You’ve Got to Spend It to Make It by my friend Valerie Geller, a well-known consultant and author with clients worldwide. As usual, Valerie nails the truth of where radio is as an industry in this new digital age.
Every day a new study is released that highlights the incredible growth of online radio and how the audience is migrating toward mobile at an ever faster pace. At last week’s NAB convention and RAIN Summit in Las Vegas it seemed like all anyone was talking about was digital and mobile. The conversation has moved from should our station be online, to how do we make our online station sound as good as our broadcast station and how can we monetize it, especially the mobile portion of our audience. I was on a panel at RAIN that covered the topic of monetizing mobile.
As Valerie points out in her article,
“Radio is, and always has been, in the content business. But now it’s time to add another element: Content in combination, delivering across multiple platforms. And that content had better be good. Most listeners are distracted easily and have short attention spans. PPM proves it: If they’re bored, they’re gone.”
She goes on to explain that radio must invest in digital with both personnel and resources to ensure that the online product has the same listener experience as your broadcast station. It’s not just in programming department either, your sales teams need to participate in and understand your digital offerings. That is exactly why Abacast has created a special sales training program for local sales teams to get them up to speed on how to position, package and sell online inventory, and we have documented that an educated sales team with a commitment from top management can generate a real, significant profit from online radio. And that’s after covering their streaming costs and Sound Exchange royalties.
It’s not easy, but anything worthwhile never is. It takes a commitment from ownership and management. We’ve seen many times that without that commitment from the top an online sales initiative is rarely successful; and when that commitment is there, most of the time success follows.
So the question is no longer should my station be online, but what do I need to do to make my online station successful. The answer is simple: Invest time, attention, resources and people and the return on that investment will be substantial. It may not happen overnight, but then success rarely does.