Call me crazy – and you wouldn’t be the first – but radio is poised for tremendous growth in the years ahead.
One reason is the growing number of applications that enable smart phones and other devices to receive and deliver radio in all of its forms. Terrestrial. HD. Satellite. Internet streaming. For decades, media journalists have recycled the same tired story of how something new (MTV, Nintendo, iPods, etc.) will be the death of radio. But this year, new technology (like smart phone apps) will make it easier than ever for people to take their favorite radio stations with them.
The 1960s’ transistor radio has been reborn: 50 years later, we call it the smart phone. Instead of 10 or 20 listening choices, we now have 10,000 or 20,000. Instead of scratchy AM sound, we have digital audio delivered through noise-canceling ear buds. And while this won’t mean “the death of terrestrial radio” (despite the predictable headlines that will herald otherwise), terrestrial radio’s overall share of listening will slip a few ratings points over the next few years, as alternative audio options creep their way into our homes and vehicles. (A similar fate unfolded for ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX as hundreds of cable and satellite television channels broadened the programming spectrum.)
Wireless speaker systems from innovators like Sonos and Bose will make it easier to play your computer’s music library in every room of the house. And the coming proliferation of in-dash WiFi will make it possible to listen to your favorite talk-show host in another time zone or the All Beatles station emanating from Moscow.
Advertising buys will slowly trickle into these alternative radio outlets, with performance tied to their ability to turn a first-time advertiser into a year-round customer. The concept of accountability will permeate radio advertising negotiations at every level, as CMOs and Agency Media VPs protect their jobs by keeping their clients and their bosses happy.
Bottom line? This is the beginning of Radio’s Digital Golden Age. Bank on it.
Join Mark Lipsky, Stephen Smith (Sirius XM Radio) and Michael Black (CBS Radio) for a one-hour panel presentation on “The New Radio” at DMA2010 on Tuesday, October 12th from 2:00 – 3:00 PM.
Mark Lipsky, President & CEO, Radio Direct Response