There is a shuffling of feet and suits in fully-booked boardrooms where minds are at play. The urgency is that the market is expanding, and advertising industry players in radio need new ideas, to retain, grow, and identify new niches in the market. Simultaneously, ever conscious of its relevance in contemporary society, the radio industry needs advertising bodies to keep up with changing trends and markets.
The cause for this clamber is because, on December 15, 2011, the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) awarded three new commercial radio broadcasting licences to one operator in each of the primary markets of Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal. A requisite of ICASA’S licence conditions necessitate new free-to-air broadcast licenses to start operations within six months. What this means is that the number of commercial stations is increasing. The questions which float in our head are; what does this mean for advertising spend? Is there a gap in the market for advertisers? For one, competition is going to become fiercer than ever before between radio stations that will be fighting to have their share of the proverbial pie.
As noted by ‘The Economist’, the advertising industry is passing through one of the most disorienting periods in its history. This is due to a combination of long-term changes, such as the growing diversity of media, and the arrival of new technologies, notably the internet. Consumers have become better informed than ever before, with the result that some of the traditional methods of advertising and marketing simply no longer work.
What to do?
A feasible alternative is for veteran radio stations, and merging radio stations to re-define what this new opportunity provides. Usually the word ‘competitiveness’ is met with slight discomfort, as it implies the end-result to dictate a “winner” and a ‘looser”. However, there is another perspective. Competition should be encouraged. More specifically, healthy competition should be encouraged, because it emphasizes the importance of working together; for the benefit of the industry as a whole, the particular stations, and advertising bodies involved.
SAARF (South African Advertising Research Foundation) provides annual research data (RAMS) about the listenership trends of all stations in the country; it clearly shows who listens to what station at what time. If radio stations worked together and shared the ad-spend by following their target market as and when they change the stations. If the stations can start analyzing the RAMS properly they can put an advertising package together that will see radio ads targeting the same listeners being aired according to the listenership patterns of the particular target market.
Too Many Choices!
To keep up with this emerging radio market, and still get the best of all worlds, you can follow a radio diet, for starters. An example of a personal radio diet would be; Monday to Friday, from 06:50am tune to Kaya FM’s 180 with Bob followed by Radio 2000’s Just-Ice’s Super Fantastic Breakfast. Between 7am and 07:10 tune to Talk Radio 702, and from there, revert back to Kaya FM and Radio 2000. Alternatively, switch between Metro FM and YFM between 07:20 and 07:50. If you are in LSM 10, male and 32yrs old every advertiser who wants to reach you can do that across all five stations within an hour. The same ads can be aired between these stations repetitively, even if you try to avoid these ads one them will eventually catch your attention as they are following your radio listening pattern.
According to chairman of the London arm of McCann Erickson, which is part of the giant Interpublic group; Rupert Howell, ‘the underlying principles haven’t changed [in radio and advertising]. Even the arrival of new media, like the internet, does not spell the demise of the old. Indeed, as he points out, TV never killed radio, which in turn never killed newspapers. They did pose huge creative challenges, but that’s OK, he maintains: “The advertising industry is relentlessly inventive; that’s what we do.” There can be a win-win situation after all.