Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Opinion: Soaring Rhetoric. Sordid Realities.

Commentary From Richard Harker, Harker Research:

Radio's new normal is GMs managing markets hundreds of miles apart, program directors over-seeing three or more stations, and voice-tracked robo-radio even in key dayparts.

Does this sound like an industry preparing for a challenging future?

Consider the difference between how radio and television are preparing for the future. We recently noted the investment Viacom is making to strengthen their brands. Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman believes the company's commitment to research has helped resuscitate networks such as MTV:

"We've increase our investment in research-market research on our viewers, brand research. In turn, study insight has hopefully led to smarter content investments-focusing the programming around what the research tells us."

Viacom is not alone. The networks realize that creating compelling programming is the key to continued success. They are investing heavily in research and marketing, creating new shows (twenty this year alone) and retooling the old ones.

And it is paying off.

Despite mobile and internet video, television viewing continues to grow, nearly 159 hours a month.

Television spot revenues grew by 24% in 2010 compared to radio’s 7%. This year’s network upfront is expected to surpass $10 billion, with double digit CPM rate hikes.

Television understands that nothing else matters if the content isn’t there.

Compelling content is also the key to radio’s survival in the digital age.

Not video prerolls. Not in-house graphics designers. Not fancy web sites. Not a brilliant social media strategy. Not “the ability to engage audience in all locations where they have a mobile device.”

Content. None of this matters if the content sucks.

But how many groups are investing in content? How many groups are recruiting and grooming the next generation of local air personalities?

Which companies are creating the formats of tomorrow?
Read More.

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