Getting 18-34 year olds to listen to radio is tough. Getting digital = Getting traffic = Getting ratings.
Last Fall, the NY Times referenced an Arbitron study which asked different age groups how their radio consumption differs nowadays from 1999. In every single age group people were listening less to the radio, with 18-34 year olds devoting about 14% less of their daily time to the radio.
18-34 year olds are heavy digital consumers (especially men) every day...especially simultaneous media users.
That means they are on the Internet, probably looking for viral videos and social network interactivity. According to recent research, men aged 18-34 account for 41% of those who view video online on a daily basis and for over two-thirds of adults who view YouTube and other user-generated content daily.
Yes, the 18-34 year old is still habitually online but guess what...the radio can be used when other media is used.
In order for radio to adapt, getting digital is essential, especially for 18-34 year old target audiences.
This will be even more true when Arbitron fully-implements their PPM electronic ratings system.
What does "getting digital" mean for radio stations?
It means communicating and interacting digitally. As mentioned above, Getting digital = Getting traffic = Getting ratings.
Radio station fan newsletters are one way to build interaction opportunities with radio listeners. These are opt-in permission marketing emails allowing stations to communicate and interact with a listener's interests (click here for 10 good rules).
Most radio station newsletters disappoint and miss their chance to connect with their listeners.
Here's a great example of a radio station newsletter.
It's from Q101 in Chicago, a pioneer Alternative radio station making strong moves to digitally connect with their listeners while facing Arbitron ratings challenges.
Signing up for the newsletter is appealing and easy-to-do...and the information provided in the newsletter is useful (pre-sale concert tickets, inside scoop, behind-the-scene station news, encouraging web streaming, their HD channels, etc.) which should help build strong word-of-mouth potential. Q101 has built up quite a fan network since they first launched their email newsletters back in 2001.
Take a look at Q101's latest newsletter design...what do you think of it?
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Saturday, March 31, 2007,
As a kid, H.G. Wells' The Time Machine as a favorite of mine. In some ways, the Internet is evolving into something like a time machine, allowing us to "time travel" to different media eras with the click of a link.
Previously-unavailable or hard-to-get archival material is suddenly and easily accessible, such as classic commercials and TV shows long "lost" to the typical viewer.
We are time shifting our media usage through findability. Watched when we want, how often we want. As Microsoft used to say, "Where do you want to go today?"
Being both a Beatles fan and a Doctor Who fan, my thanks to BoingBoing for spotting this YouTube submission. Apparently, the only existing video footage of The Beatles performing "Ticket to Ride" was used on the BBC's Doctor Who in 1965. Take a look at how much styles do change...while also enjoying a little time-travelin' ticket to ride:
"The Beatles had a guest appearance on Doctor Who in 1965 -- singing "Ticket to Ride." Afterwards, a traveller from the future remarks that she's heard of the Beatles, having visited their memorial in Liverpool, but that she didn't realize that the Beatles also performed "classical music." This is black-and-white Doctor Who comedy gold. A fan adds, "The original recording of that particular Beatles performance has been lost along with a lot of the BBC library which was tragically thrown out in a great video tape purge in the 1970s. That Doctor Who footage is now the only visual record of that performance."
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Saturday, March 31, 2007,
Experience from someone who's been there is a tremendous asset...especially after having a chance to step away, learn and view changes impartially for a fresh perspective.
CBS Radio needed fresh prespective.
CBS Radio needed fresh leadership.
CBS Radio needed "been there" experience from someone who knows how to get "it" done.
And CBS Radio got it.
Bringing Dan Mason back to CBS Radio looks like the right decision. CBS Radio's 7% drop in year-to-year revenue for 2006 was a direct end-product of industry, listener and customer perceptual losses in branding trust.
From bold format changes across the nation (in the spirit of innovation) that failed to connect with new audiences.
From poor decisions handling the entire Howard Stern transition to Sirius satellite radio, messing up millions of listener's morning routines...especially after CBS Radio tired to fill the programming vacuum unsuccessfully.
Worst of all, from breaking "brand trusts" with listeners through perceived manipulation...and not delivering better products; the quality level of radio stations CBS Radio listeners have long expected from CBS Radio.
This change is an important step in rebuilding trust.
Before they brought back the CBS Radio name, they were Infinity Broadcasting -- the company that invested in radio's best talent, best programming, best leadership, best sales teams, the best radio market's. Before Infinity, it was Westinghouse. And before Westinghouse, it was CBS Radio.
CBS Radio has long been radio's crown jewel...with the exception of the last few years. Perhaps it is coincidence that CBS Radio's performance and perceptions changed after 2002 when Dan Mason "retired" to begin consulting. Perhaps not. Perhaps CBS Radio was just a victim of traditional media losing out to new media. Perhaps not.
The fact Dan Mason is coming back is a good sign for returned CBS Radio growth. Dan's been there. He'll debunk myths and move the group forward. He knows what it felt like within Infinity during its "championship" years, its legacy years as radio grew through the 70s, the 80s, and the 90s. And he's largely consulted new media (such as Sirius) through SaboMason since leaving CBS Radio/Infinity in 2002 (while also consulting CBS Radio).
One of Walter Sabo's respected strengths is his passionate viewpoints on creativity for radio, regardless of format. No doubt CBS Radio will benefit from Dan's recent experiences with Sabo.
New ideas and fresh perspective to the table...while also bringing "been there" assets.
Things seem to be looking up for CBS Radio again. And that's a good thing for all of radio.
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Tuesday, March 27, 2007,
New media has shifted marketing perception suggesting the rules for brand building have dramatically changed.
Actually, the rules haven't changed -- and neither has the end goal. Rather, it's the methods and choices used to build those brands that have changed the way brands are marketed, with some new powerful tools gaining popularity and other previously-strong tools losing power (or already lost it).
Here's what remains as true and essential today as always: for significant and meaningful brand building connections and branding engagement, brands have to share common ground with the desired customer.
What does this mean?
The relationship between brand and customer must represent something real to the customer; otherwise, the brand doesn't matter in the customer's world. Miss this connection and you certainly won't motivate brand advocates.
Successfully-built brands have to be genuine and based on the real values and vision of the brand. Larger brand audiences and market share dominance happen when the brand links distribution of the brand intention with the brands perception.
It's the bedrock of trust and common ground, allowing the relationship between brand and consumer to grow and prosper.
What are the Seven Essental Connections for Successful Customer Brand Building? The brand MUST share with the customer:
1) Life values (self-identity)
2) Core "roots" (history, heritage, religion, etc.)
3) Cause (forward-moving purpose)
4) Mutual interests and/or benefits (time spent together)
5) Lifestyle (community)
6) Hobbies (interactivity)
7) Preferences (like and shared dislikes)
Brands that connect with customers on all seven levels consistently are engaged. And yes, bottom line results are important just as it is for owners with brands not fully engaged . Look at some of the biggest successes: Apple, for example. BMW and Toyota (including the new Scions) for cars and Ford for trucks. Even TV shows like American Idol, Lost, Heroes, 24, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Each connect on all seven levels...and deliver financial results and customer buzz.
But not all brands connect on all seven levels.
Most brands don't consciously concentrate on servicing, staffing or budgeting the brand on those 7 levels. Which is too bad; if they did, the brand would earn the cherished "X Factor"...that special extra oomph in brand value making it superior than any competitor.
How well is your brand connecting?
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Monday, March 26, 2007,
Last night, Katie Couric brought her famous legs to the Colbert Report. Stephen Colbert kept trying to get a "leg up" on her...but Katie knew how to keep her feet grounded while riding the truthiness train.
Politicians can't seem to help themselves taking Colbert's ridiculous bait...but Katie showed she's got more than just gams. Yep, she showed she can "stand" the threat down; she won't be put On Notice (for now).
As for the ratings...well...
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Friday, March 23, 2007,
Music album sales continue to tumble for the record industry...but downloaded music single purchases remained hot -- and growing as a trend.
Nielsen Soundscan released new music sales figures yesterday, saying 89 million CDs were sold from the start of the year through March 18 as compared with 112 million CDs sold during the same period in 2006 -- a 21% decline in CD sales.
Purchases of digitized albums online failed to make up the difference -- instead they dropped from 119 million during that time period in 2006 to 99 million during the first three months of this year, SoundScan reported.
Meanwhile, sales of individual songs in digital format on the Internet rose from 242 million tracks during those months last year to 288 million this year, according to SoundScan.
Consumers are sending a message to artists that "while you may have put a lot of thought into the sequence of the album, I only like these three songs," said digital music industry analyst Michael McGuire of Gartner Research.
"It comes back to consumers being in complete control of their media experience, and that is not going backwards," Gartner told AFP while discussing the drop in album sales and the rise in single-song track purchases.
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Thursday, March 22, 2007,
Last Spring, New York magazine and other magazines wrote that Purple Politics was a new political trend view.
Instead of media's focus on extreme political splits of left vs right, liberal vs conservative, democrat vs republican...Americans were really more of a "blue" and "red" blending.
A centrist "Purple" nation.
The 2006 mid-term elections results supports this thinking; Congress is far less red and much more "purple" now.
Looks like Fox Noise noticed and read the memo: Time to blend the red and blue to be more purple!
First a Fox News Channel threat down against Comedy Central's The Daily Show and Colbert Report called The 1/2 Hour News Hour (which some think is 30 minutes too long). Waitaminute...fake news on Fox News?
Now this: Hannity & Colmes debuted a new look that would make Prince proud, broadcasting their dueling neoconservative Republican and moderately Democratic viewpoints from a brand-new purple set.
How fashionable! Is it an extreme makeover? Well, no. The look has changed...but the FNC's noise content remains the same. Hey, we can report, too...and let you decide.
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Thursday, March 22, 2007,
As a new media consumer product, HD Radio remains mostly "unheard".
Research reports awareness to be "up"...but consumer buy-in is still low, waiting to catch fire.
The buzz -- so far -- is not exactly "high def".
Sure, the announcement earlier this month that Wal-mart will start selling HD Radio receivers is a big boost for potential viability. And the radio industry continues to push it forward upgrading their transmitters and launching new stations.
Last year's national promo campaign to raise consumer awareness was backed by most of the leading radio groups, including Clear Channel and CBS Radio, and continues on...but those promos are airing less often now. While retail distribution deals with Sharper Image (HD Radio was its February consumer catalog cover product), RadioShack, Crutchfield and BMW help make HD Radio more available for purchase, the marketplace reaction remains stiffly lukewarm, despite tech producer iBiquity's buzz-building efforts.
What is HD Radio?...and what are the problems? Is it the future of radio?
Part of the problem is the perceived lack of need. Consumers have so many options for listening to music. HD Radio doesn't seem to fill a demand gap. Standard pre-installed radio in stereo systems seems sufficient to most radio users.
Another problem is radio's hesitation to offer these special HD radio partner channels for online streaming. If these "unique" channels are so great (commercial-free, no added agency/VO talent/copywriting royalty fees, etc.), why aren't they mass-streamed online and given prime exposure on the "mother" radio station's websites and other Internet locations?
Update 3/22 at noon: FCC approves new open HD Radio rules for streaming. The decision gives a green light to multicasting, so broadcasters no longer need to apply for experimental authority to multicast, including for HD Radio. All the commissioners called the digital radio vote historic -- let's hope it creates historic good results.
While HD radio offers better audio quality than conventional/analog AM/FM, the radio industry's embrace of this new tech option is perceived as partial, not full. There may be more than 1200 HD radio stations now...but who is really listening?
The technology for HD Radio was available back in the mid-90s when the U.S. standard was accepted. But the radio industry waited...until after mp3s, internet downloading and streaming, the iPod and satellite radio. Consumers weren't able to hear HD Radio programming or buy the receivers until just a few years ago.
The fact radio is doing "something" HD or digital is better than not at all; the problem is, "something" is not good enough. After a major 15-month push, HD Radio remains sub-optimal in terms of consumer response.
Heck, according to Technorati, even the media and tech gadget blogs rarely write about HD Radio (about 60-to-75 post references a day, on average; satellite radio, in comparison, gets 10 times that amount daily) -- and when they do, support is mixed. Not a good buzz-building indicator.
Can HD Radio still succeed? Doubtful but somewhat possible...if it tolerates the necessary long-term investment waging a long uphill battle against too many opponents.
Does radio need to be digital? Absolutely...but is HD the answer? Or is it making HD available on the iPod? Right now, the effort consumers have to make to hear HD Radio remains difficult and/or expensive, rendering it unnecessary for most radio users.
What are the current viewpoints of experts watching the HD Radio trends? A selection:
Jerry Del Colliano from his InsideMusicMedia blog: "Can any consulting adult really believe HD is the answer when there is next to no consumer interest in it?"So what are your thoughts?
Tech and digital media consultant David H. Deans: "HD Radio can't save broadcaster problems."
Ted Schadler, an analyst with Forrester Research, as reported by BusinessWeek: "The problem for the broadcasters, who continue to see their audience become fragmented and who struggle to boost ad revenues, is that HD radio is not a new offering. It's a defensive move...It's better radio, but it's not a whole lot better radio."
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Wednesday, March 21, 2007,
The Associated Press filed a report tonight saying a wide array of broadcasters and online companies announced they were formally challenging this month's new ruling on copyright royalties which, if allowed, would cripple the emerging business of music broadcasts over the Internet.
It's a good sign broadcasters -- big and small -- are jointly stepping up with webcasters to defend their positions on streaming and not simply rolling over.
According to AP:
Clear Channel Communications Inc., National Public Radio, and groups representing both large and small companies providing music broadcasts online were among those asking the Copyright Royalty Board to reconsider key parts of its March 2 ruling.That agreement (the Digital Millenium Copyright Act) set today's Digital Rights Management guidelines.
That ruling, the challenging parties say, would greatly increase the amount of royalties that online music broadcasters would have to pay to record labels and performers as well as put unreasonable demands on them to track how many songs were listened to by exactly how many individuals online.
The royalties in question only apply to digital transmissions of music, such as through Web sites, and are paid to the performers of songs and record labels. Webcasters also pay additional royalties to the composers and publishers of music, similar to those also paid by over-the-air broadcasters.
Digital performance rights were originally granted to record companies in 1995, in part with the intention of protecting them against the possibility that digital transmissions could erode the sales of CDs.
The new rules, if implemented, threaten the viability of legally-streamed music radio stations over the web -- both repeaters from traditional broadcasters as well as pure new media netcasters. Click here to see how you can help "save music streaming".
Meanwhile, web streamer Kurt Hanson of AccuRadio weighs in on the issue here.
Let's see what happens...
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Monday, March 19, 2007,
There's something new bubbling up online. From the D-List.
It's probably only a fad and not a trend...but it is something unusual. Or, at least, another way for celebrities to lose dignity. Celebrity-branded search engines.
Now, through search services provided by prodege.com (powered by Yahoo! Search) and others, custom search engines are offered with celebrity tie-ins.
Search with Kevin (Federline)! Search with Meatloaf! Search with Wynonna! Search with Hinder! Search with Andrew Dice Clay!
The hook: everytime you search with a branded "celebrity" search engine, you get a chance to win a prize ("enter to win the chance to attend K-Fed's birthday party!"). And, if you chose to be a site host setting up a customized celeb search engine site, you can also earn money from every search (they say).
Now, I'm not really buying that this idea will take off and overthrow Google. I don't even see it topping Dogpile or AllTheWeb.
However, there is a nugget of an idea there. Local radio stations could create customized search engines on their own websites featuring their morning shows. Now that might prove more interesting.
Search with Howard Stern! Search with Opie & Anthony! Search with Johnny B! Search with Kevin & Bean! Search with Rush Limbaugh!
Hmmm, check that last radio celeb search idea. I'm not sure I'd want to know Rush's online search preferences...
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Monday, March 19, 2007,
Distributors are the ultimate media gatekeeper.
When Time magazine named "You" as its 2006 Person of the Year, it attracted mixed critical response. Some thought it was brilliant, others thought it was a cop out. Whatever. That editorial decision did announce something fresh: one of traditional media's pillars of print media acknowledged the cultural significance of today's digital new media reality.
2007 has delivered major changes within Time, including mass job cuts, retirements and restructuring as well as a new delivery date (Fridays instead of Mondays). It's also brought about many design updates and content adjustments, intended to tighten up the partnership between the weekly magazine and the daily updates of Time.com.
Among the subjects Time features more is a regular look at "what's next" in consumer tech and media, which grabs this media trend watcher's attention.
This week's "Curious Capitalist" writes that "Google Gooses Big Media" (wha?...what exactly does that mean?...has Big Media's butt been pinched?). For a traditional (mainstream, or MSM) print media publication to say "The search giant rewrote the rules of distribution and selling ads...The big movie, TV and print outfits may never catch up" is startling.
Well, first of all, they're admitting Google is now the leader steering media's growth -- not the TV, Print or Movie industries (and, by its absence, certainly not radio).
Secondly, while it's good news one of the biggest mainstream media publications in the world acknowledges new media's (and specifically Google's) importance in the total media mix...this "news" arrives several years late.
Lastly, Time Inc's viewpoint seems completely opposite of Viacom's effort to turn YouTube into SueTube.
The article does drive home excellent points, especially how it puncture's the tired adage that "content is king".
"Content is king." It's a phrase uttered repeatedly by media executives making the case that the movies, music, TV shows, books and journalism their companies produce are the core of their business.Yes, content matters...but that's a bit of a smoke screen. Distribution of content is what's always mattered. The owners of printing presses since the 17th century. The owners of radio towers and transmitters throughout the 20th century. The same has been true for the record/music industry, the TV industry, the cable industry...and now the top domains online.
It happens to be a dubious claim. Sure, movies, music and TV shows have value...But they alone have never generated the huge, reliable profits that keep investors happy and pay for midtown-Manhattan skyscrapers. No, the big money in media has always been in distribution.
Sometimes the media companies do this distributing themselves -- big media have long been defined by their ability to make sure their products are displayed prominently there. "The historical media play," says consultant John Hagel, "is having privileged access to limited shelf space."
Extending content value through syndication rights and efficient distribution "pipelines" (or "networks" or high-speed wireless linkages, etc.) is really where it's at. Always has been...and it continues to be that way.
The trend: Mainstream media is still slowly figuring out new, better ways to marry its traditional media distribution system with its online distribution opportunities. As archaic copyright rules over content control evolve (such as DRM), will regulations tighten or relax? The battle over the next 5 years will be fierce and worth watching.
What do you think?
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Sunday, March 18, 2007,
News watchers have been tracking "The Katie Couric Effect" ever since she announced her departure from NBC's "Today Show" to join the "CBS Evening News" last September.
After a fast start as America's first female evening news anchor, her ratings quickly declined, stalling her in 3rd place for the last 6 months.
Meanwhile, Charlie Gibson's "World News" on ABC has overtaken former news champ Brian Williams of NBC's "Nightly News" for 1st place.
Here at the Jointblog, we're still amazed how often people keep searching online for Katie Couric's legs. She may not have the ratings...but her fans still love her online.
Katie's 15 years at The Today Show proved she knows how to have fun, even when she's ultra-competitive. Don't forget, she did have a colonoscopy on live TV (which, in all seriousness, increased the number of health screenings around the world simply because Katie made it less scary). ThisJustIn.com has some suggestions to help give Katie Couric some fresh legs in the ratings race, including this posting's spoof picture (above, along with 9 others):
Drastic changes are afoot to fix The CBS Evening News. In addition to firing their executive producer, here are several other changes that This Just In has learned are already in the works to grab viewers away from those sexy devils Brian Williams and Charles Gibson...Yes, she has plenty of critics. How would you help lift her ratings?
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Friday, March 16, 2007,
Do you have a suggestion for the Jointblog or a topic tip to help us media trend watch? Here's a great place to participate. You can always make comments to posts or contact us with new suggestions by clicking here to comment or here to email! And you'll get the credit for the tip with a link to your own site (unless you'd like to remain anonymous).
Thanks for media trend watching!
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Thursday, March 15, 2007,
After years of watching Google's market cap soar and the Internet organize itself around Google's search engine findability, Viacom stepped in today and launched a billion dollar lawsuit, citing Google's unauthorized use of Viacom's content.
Blockbuster news...and not surprising, is it? The book publishing industry went nuts 4 years ago when Google's Book Search Project began (where Google digitally scanned and made available for search the complete text of books). Last month, additional royalties were approved to benefit audio creators, piling on more (prohibitive) costs for any radio stations streaming music online.
It was inevitible one of the major media video content creators would step up and say "enough...now pay up". And Viacom (with all its subsidiaries) is the world's biggest.
Good thing Google set aside about $400 million of its $1.65 billion YouTube purchase price to settle these claims (yes, they they were anticipated) but if the Viacom lawsuit it any indication it may get more expensive than that.
What is Google? Ultimately, it's a web navigating tool (or an agent) capitalizing on other people's content. Or, more specifically, other company's content. The public quickly discovered Google serves a valuable function in society.
However, corporate content owners have never happy with it; not only did Google take away some of their own brand buzz, they were also "stealing" content/$$$ (and profiting from that "stealing").
Nevermind that Google's service happened to build a brand new way to connect and interact directly with your customer, including selling, advertising, branding, promoting and sharing.
Last month, after months of negotiation attempts, Viacom decided to partner with upstart Joost instead of approving content-usage on YouTube because no usage/revenue deal could be worked out with Google. So Viacom demanded YouTube pull all Viacom content off the site.
However, Viacom might have a valid point (will the courts agree?). Prior to Google, if you wanted to know what was "happening", Viacom's MTV Network was the place to find out. Once Google became dominant on the web, MTV Networks's lost their grip among younger consumers. It was faster and better just to "Google" it.
Update @ 12noon: So how did Viacom/MTV Networks break the news to its people? Click here.
Google has been the epicenter of new media expansion since the dot com bust of 2000. Traditional media grudgingly accepted the benefit of piggybacking Google to get content found (expanding content to a wider online audience), even if it meant a loss of control over their owned content.
Google's success is simple too big for traditional media's comfort.
According to Reuters:
Media conglomerate Viacom Inc. said on Tuesday that it was suing Google Inc. and its Internet video-sharing site YouTube for more than $1 billion over unauthorized use of its programming online.C|net also has a report on this story here.
The lawsuit, the biggest challenge to date to Google's ambitions to make YouTube into a major vehicle for advertising and entertainment, accuses the Web search leader and its unit of "massive intentional copyright infringement."
Viacom filed the suit with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, seeking more than $1 billion in damages and an injunction against further violations.
Viacom contends that almost 160,000 unauthorized clips of its programming have been uploaded onto YouTube's site and viewed more than 1.5 billion times.
"YouTube's strategy has been to avoid taking proactive steps to curtail the infringement on its site," Viacom said in a statement. "Their business model, which is based on building traffic and selling advertising off of unlicensed content, is clearly illegal and is in obvious conflict with copyright laws."
Viacom said its decision to sue Google followed "a great deal of unproductive negotiation" with the company.
The Media Trend Questions: If Google loses the suit, Google should survive...but what "ripple" effect would it have across the Internet? Will Universal NBC, Disney/ABC (and on and on) also set up lawsuits? Could it go class action? Could this lawsuit lead to another dot com bust? Or, is it just the beginning of the next "whole new media world"?
Related FT.com article: Was Google's YouTube buy media overreach?
Meanwhile...: Mark Cuban weighs in with "You Go, Viacom!"
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Tuesday, March 13, 2007,
Now that the Canadian Music Week Conference is wrapped up and the awards for "Best Stations" handed out, which stations get the most online traffic?
Interestingly, as of today March 12th, the #1 site is not a music format or your typical News/Talk format. It's Airport Talk All The Time on CFYZ 1280 AM and available through www.gtaa.com -- the voice of Canada's busiest international airport, Toronto's Pearson International. They broadcast arrivals, departures, traffic, weather, travel stories and aviation announcements.
In Canada, Alexa says it is ranked 1,138th in total traffic.
3/27 Update: RadioandRecords.com reports that "CFYZ-AM/Toronto -- the Greater Toronto Airports Authority's information station -- is flipping to business talk on April 9 as CFBN. The station will continue running airport traffic reports and travel programming."
#2 CKWX is ranked 3,469th -- with a substantial drop over the past 6 months.
According to Alexa.com's traffic ratings, here are the most visited Canadian radio station sites:
1. CFYZ 1280 AM (Pearson International Airport/Toronto)
2. CKWX - News 1130 (Rogers/Vancouver)
3. CKOI FM 96.9 (Corus/Montreal)
4. VOCM Radio (VOCM/Newfoundland)
5. CHUM 104.5 FM (CHUM/Toronto)
6. Radio Énergie (Astral/Montreal)
7. CKNW 980 AM (Corus/Vancouver)
8. 102.1FM The Edge (Corus/Toronto)
9. Mix 96 (Standard/Montreal)
10. CFOX 93.3 - The Fox (Cous/Vancouver)
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Monday, March 12, 2007,
Continuing Joint Communications' conference hopping, CEO John Parikhal attended Radio and Records' annual Talk Radio Seminar in Los Angeles.
His focus: Boomers, adapting media buying demos, and keeping on-air programming relevant through context and meaning.
Among the highlights, as reported by Radio and Records, context is talk radio's next growth cateogry:
Some things just make sense, and some things need explaining. And that simple process of making sense of things could very well be the next creative and growth category for talk radio. At least, that's the speculation of Joint Communications' John Parikhal, who has a very good record of cutting through life's fog.
Appearing as one of seven talk radio industry participants and observers at the opening session of the 12th annual Talk Radio Seminar in Marina Del Rey, Calif., Parikhal said more people want analysis -- someone to tell them "what it all means" and to give a topic context in their lives. "They want you to 'make sense of things for me; give me a context.' And they want you to stop shouting people down." He added, "People say they don't like politics, but they mean that they don't like the extreme in politics."
Al Peterson, Radio And Records's news/talk/sports editor and co-moderator of the panel with publisher and president Erica Farber, asked if anyone was aware that NPR -- National Public Radio -- is "talk radio's dirty little secret."
ABC Radio Network's John McConnell quickly responded, "It's been the biggest success story in talk radio for the last number of years." That is partly, he added, because it does analysis so well and so often.
Parikhal added that a contributing factor to NPR's talk success is that "NPR is using sound better than anyone else. I call it the 'sound of the goat.'" He then described a mock NPR story of "a man walking up the side of a hill, and you hear the sound of a goat in the background." Said Parikhal, "They use in-depth, really good production. They are the National Geographic of radio. They paint with sound."
At another session, Parikhal talked about how radio is forgetting about an important (and still big) demographic -- Baby Boomers. Among the quotes:
Advertisers and ad agencies are missing the boat on a great source of cash flow: the baby boomers. Particularly people 56 and older, who are left out of ad buys because they are perceived as being stuck in their buying habits. But that's a big mistake.For more on the Talk Radio Seminar, click here.
"Fifty-six and older are lonely, waiting to die, and no one is providing entertainment for us," cracked Joint Communications' John Parikhal, drawing laughter from the audience.
When an audience member suggested that older listeners tend not to try new products but buy what they know, Parikhal quickly attempted to set the record straight.
"Older people are not set in their buying ways," he said. He pointed to boomers' love of buying computers, cars and gizmos, all the way down to getting different toothpastes for the newest whitening additive. He said the audience member's sentiment is "really unfair and biased and one that keeps radio stuck."
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Saturday, March 10, 2007,
Joint Communications is conference hopping this week, with John Parikhal at the R&R Talk Radio Seminar in Los Angeles and Chris Kennedy at the Canadian Music Week Conference in Toronto.
At the CMW, I served as a panelist for the "60 Actionable New Programming Ideas in 60 Minutes" discussion to help kick start the radio conference. Also participating: Mike McVay from McVay Media, Tracy Johnson from Jack FM/San Diego and Steve Young from Jones Radio Networks, with the session moderated by Chris Byrnes of Byrnes Media. Great ideas were shared by all. For those in attendance wishing a recap -- or for those unable to attend, here's my actionable ideas.
If you have any fresh ideas to add, just submit a comment at the end of this post.
A pdf of all 60 Ideas is also available by clicking here:
> WOM Marketing: Explore what Word-of-Mouth marketing means online for your audience. Attend various WOMMA-sponsored conferences and read their various white papers. Go to WOMMA.org for more. Learn how "spreading the word virally" works online so listeners will tell friends...who will tell friends...and so on...and so on...
> Online Suggestion Box: Do you have an easy-to-see, easy-to-use online Suggestion Box for immediate listener feedback?
> Do Search Engines See Your Site?: How do the Internet search engines perceive and filter your website? Go to SEOmoz.org as well as SEOkeywordanalysis.com.
> Listener-Uploaded Viral Videos: Offer a place on your website for listeners to upload/link favourite/recommend viral videos (make sure they get approved by the Program Director/Webmaster).
> iPod Companion Devices:The iPod turned 5 last November...and they're now everywhere. Give away Griffin iFM radio tuner add-on remote devices ($50) or Belkin TuneFMs for iPods ($55) or other iPod companion devices that include a radio tuner for the iPod. Make sure all your listeners have an FM tuner for the iPod. "Upgrade their iPod."
> Don't Make Me Think: Read and practically memorize Steve Krug's Don't Make Me Think, then make sure those rules are applied for the website's design and see what can be applied on-air as well.
> Broadcast Through Cellphones/PDAs: Deliver your broadcast through cellphone/PDA providers.
> Update Your "This Stunt Could Go Wrong" File: Prevent problems before they happen or before your listeners suffer water intoxication. In addition, consider conducting periodic "risk exercises" with staff to practice possible "what ifs".
> Pretend You Are Launching A Station: If you are an established station, pretend you are launching as a brand new station on a brand new signal. Since you have no baggage or heritage, how would you launch to get maximum community response? What would be your essentials? How would you attack competitors? Then ask yourself, are you doing those things now? If so, are you doing them the best you can? What can you improve? If not, what can you do to make those things happen? And what can you do different than now?
> Have Essentials On Your Website -- Simplify: Reduce clutter. Be font size appropriate for your target audience (older -- larger fonts). Make what you do on-air simple and easy to access/view/read on your website -- especially your current and recently-played songs on-air. Include lists of Top Requests (include sample listeners). Edit! Provide top newsworthy stories and/or water cooler buzz of the day...not a lot of stories, just enough.
> Positive Radio Campaigns: Independent of RMB/CAB or RAB/NAB initiatives, incorporate positive radio campaigns locally. Radio is the original wireless. Be wireless...and visible. Stay active in the community and on the streets. Avoid being overly digital-centric; focus on being digital-balanced with the real world needs of listeners. Promote radio in general over and above your own station.
> Offer Custom Ringtones: Produce and make downloadable custom ringtones using the station voice, character bits from the morning show, jingles and/or production...or custom messages from personalities and key format artists and bands.
> Are You Blogging?: Gives the station personalities a forum to be connected with the community and for listeners to comment and interact. Content can be anything from show bit discussions to appropriate content matching station style to community events, live-blogging during personality-oriented shows, etc.
> Do A "Best Of" Local Survey: Newspapers and free weeklies have long done the local "Best haircut", "Best local pint", "Best pizza", etc. contests...rarely has radio made it their own in a market. Conduct your own contest. Partner or take it away from the papers, incorporate the voting online and text message/SMS as well as voice mail voting.
> Do Research Beyond Just Radio: When conducting custom market research (perceptuals, music test, focus groups, etc.), make sure you periodically measure multi-media experiences, habits, preference usage and demands/needs beyond just radio to avoid a myopic viewpoint and to better optimize listener's typical multi-tasking routines for media and entertainment. Find out where radio is in your target audience's usage spectrum...so threats and opportunities can be revealed.
For the full presentation pdf, click here.
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Friday, March 09, 2007,
Shift happens...and it's happening right now.
The Jointblog is an online place for media trend watching, connecting the dots of media changes. Where thoughts about the future can be discussed and reviewed as it relates to the present. Many research companies -- including Joint Communications -- regularly publish media predictions which anticipate future growth. Some of these studies generate action, some don't. The intent, though, is to generate quality thought and perspective.
Searching for trend information, we stumbled across a fantastic video presentation of various global facts and statistics which delivers that high standard. It will make you think. It will give you perspective. It will inform you in a new way. And it may serve as a catalyst for conversation and executive action.
Give it a view...and make sure you take some notes (our thanks to Glumbert.com):
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Wednesday, March 07, 2007,
How many people use the Internet? According to new data from comScore Network's World Metrix service, the Internet reaches 747 million people worldwide. How big is that? Slightly more than Europe's total population of 710 million people. The total world population right now? Nearly 6.7 billion. That means the Internet reaches 11% of the world.
That's a big audience...but there's still lots of room to grow.
And grow it has. Overall, the amount of global web users increased 10 percent over the past year, with about 74 million new users.
According to the report:
The greatest growth over the past year comes from India (33 percent); the Russian Federation (21 percent); and China (20 percent).The U.S. still dominates Internet usage, with more than 153 million total users online -- a 2% gain since last year. US users average 32 hours a month online...but broadband users take advantage of their high speed, averaging 37 hours per month.
Online engagement topped an average 27 hours spent each month in the top 10 user countries. Hours spent online was strongest in Canada (39.6 hours); Israel (37.4 hours); and South Korea (34 hours).
Canada tops broadband hours used at 41 hours a month.
The top sites total worldwide? Microsoft, Google and Yahoo lead the Top 3.
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Tuesday, March 06, 2007,
Natural organic search is the most essential way to get found on the Internet. Websites not listed on the first page of Google keyword search results always generate sub-optimal traffic. Get found on that first page...and your desired brand advocates will respond.
Of course, getting to #1 is most desirable.
More and more, the corporate world seems to be understanding the importance of search marketing. That's a good media trend to watch, as these investments are already beginning to deliver strong ROI results.
According to an annual survey conducted by the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) relased last month, advertisers in North America laid out close to 10 billion dollars on search engine marketing in 2006 -- a 62 percent spending increase versus 2005. SEMPO found that based on its survey of 587 search agencies and advertisers, the amount of $$$ spent on search marketing will double by 2011, reaching $18.6 billion.
These figures include both paid search advertising and spending on internal search engine optimization.
The report says Google dominates the search advertising business. Among the marketers and agencies surveyed, 96 percent of them report using Google AdWords to promote their brands.
Yahoo! also does well, with 86 percent usage among search marketing budgets...
Meanwhile, less-used (and therefore less-cluttered) MSN, which has long struggled in a distant third-place position in the search race, has made great strides among advertisers, with 68% of advertisers saying they used MSN for their search campaigns in 2006, up from just 29 percent in 2005.
Key area for growth in search marketing: Brand Building
Search advertising for brand advertisers is still a less-than-mature growth category. Despite claims that more and more brands are using the Internet for branding, just 21% of search advertisers actually track or measure the branding impact of search for their campaigns.
Long Tail thoughts here
Brand Building: The Seven Doors of Connection here (pdf)
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Monday, March 05, 2007,
USAToday's online version of its newspaper -- USAToday.com -- has been one of my old reliables on the Internet for years. With new websites constantly popping up trying to get popular attention, USAToday.com has been like web comfort food for millions of web users.
Always reliable. Always there. Colorful. Easy to find and digest top mainstream news and pop culture stories. Just the right amount of news to give readers an idea of what's happening today in the USA.
Just like their newsprint version.
That's their brand online, too.
Or, it has been, up until USAToday.com's new "makeover" this weekend.
Change and the Internet seem to go hand-in-hand. Change is inevitable in business. Like yesterday's Jointblog posting, you have to find ways to "move forward". Which is what USAToday.com is doing...moving forward to something they call "networked journalism" (a concepted apparently created along with BuzzMachine's Jeff Jarvis).
According to USAToday, this new design will allow readers to comment on every story on the site, create profiles and blogs, upload photos and interact a lot more.
Here's their official announcement:
Big changes are coming to USATODAY.com. Starting this weekend, you'll have more interactive opportunities, see a dramatic new design and find a new way of thinking about the news.Why the change? It's not like USAToday is also changing their newsprint editions. Their previous online versions were designed to look and feel just like their newspaper. Not anymore. Perhaps that the point, considering the overall newspaper industry's long, slow decline: change to read less like their newspaper and more like online readers.
USATODAY.com's aim is to create a community around the news, one that connects readers to reporting. In its 25 years as "The Nation's Newspaper," USA TODAY has always tried to listen to a variety of readers and understand what's important to them. As the next logical step, we're building the nation's newspaper into the nation's conversation....So, watch the site. Change is coming, and you can be a part of it. (click here to read the rest of the USAToday announcement.)
For years, "The Nation's Newspaper" has served its brand function with excellence in this noisy, distracted mediaworld. It's fast, colorful and easy to read, perfect for commuting on the train or the shuttle flight (or even extended reading on the toilet -- come on now, admit it). And USAToday.com became one of the top websites in the world, built on the same principles: fast, colorful and easy to read. Something you'd want to check out everyday. Sometimes several times a day.
In the past year, web traffic has gone down, according to Alexa (see graph). Which, ultimately, must explain why USAToday is making a change. However, I still don't get the reason for their change. It doesn't make sense. Despite some traffic drop-off, they still are the 525th most-trafficked website in the world!
March 5th update: Looks like the public is giving a collective "thumbs down" as of Day 3 since the changes. USAToday.com has slipped down to a one-week average of 649 most-visited in the world...and down to 856 for yesterday. What will Monday rankings look like when they are updated on Alexa tomorrow?
Now they've done a makeover...and, as a consumer and a media trend watcher, I'm less than pleased with the results so far.
Even on my high-speed broadband, this redesign is clunky and slow-loading for all the graphics and code they've packed onto their pages...including most crucially their homepage.
Is a makeover really going to bump up that traffic ranking when they've just made their site's usage more difficult?
I'm sure there are bugs and fix issues to work out. Change and moving forward is important and needed. And sometimes it is unavoidable. If you must change, protecting the brand still remains critically important. And ideally, the changed user experience will prove better.
Right now, I have to wonder: Is USAToday.com now trying to be a brand they're not?
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Sunday, March 04, 2007,
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Saturday, March 03, 2007,
In brand building, do you:
1) Teach with facts (without emotion, except perhaps subtle guilt or "do this now" commands)?
2) Promote with truthiness (with twisty wordplay of "wishful" results, even if unlikely)?
3) Create product/customer relationship opportunities (allowing the consumer to attach their own aspirations and value)?
Successful brand building is more than just associating a product with a brand message. Successful brand building results occur when a customer associates a product with a brand message...and agrees that union has continued value and meaning to that customer.
iTunes, the iPod and "Hello I'm a Mac" MacBoy all are extensions of Apple's "Think Different" brand building proposition led by Steve Jobs...attracting loyal fans who love the product and love being associated with the product.
Coca Cola has been "The Real Thing" for 80 years, even while they tried to teach the world to sing.
What is your primary brand message doing for your customers: teaching, being truthy or creating relationships?
Have you media trend watched today?
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Saturday, March 03, 2007,
For right or wrong, the media loves to exploit celebrities...and, for the most part, celebrities (plus their publicists) love it, too. Look at all the major celeb meltdowns we seen in this post-YouTube, post-TMZ era. Paris Hilton. Mel Gibson. Tom Cruise. Michael Richards. Nicole Richie. Lindsay Lohan. Grey's Anatomy's Dr. Burke. Britney.
Media watched, gawked and mocked as one PR crisis after another drove ratings, web traffic and headlines.
Bobby Brown is the latest notorious celeb in trouble. This time, instead of the media just piling onto the celeb's scandal, a radio station has stepped up and given a helping hand.
Hot 99.5 in Washington, DC paid his bail (getting him out after a 3-day stay in lock up) as well as his overdue child support payments to the mother of two of his kids born prior to his marriage with Whitney Houston.
In exchange, Bobby Brown will co-host with Kane during the morning show on the rhythmic hit station, putting him to work for his money. It also gives Brown a chance to air his version of the events, entertain, be the spotlight and say any mea culpas he wishes to give.
Massive worldwide publicity references on the entertainment and late night TV shows, cable network newscasts and talk shows, other music and talk radio stations, newspapers...and, of course, the Internet.
And now it's a front webpage web event for Hot 99.5.
Radio station's MUST get back to budgeting a line item called "opportunistic marketing fund". It's a forgotten (but still valuable) brand builder. Planned and budgeted marketing dollars kept ready to use for the station to do good works in the community, creating positive goodwill (and potentially far-reaching word-of-mouth marketing buzz).
Trying to suddenly find $$$ in tight budgets for the station to respond to sudden "opportunities" (as Hot 99.5 has done with Mr. Prerogative) is minimally complicated and difficult. Usually to the point where nothing happens and the opportunity is lost.
Build "opportunity fund" mechanisms into your budgets and explain it to the controllers what that means. And then wait for opportunities. Don't worry...you won't have to wait very long.
After all, celebrities will continue to meltdown...
Just don't forget to put out the press releases and viral video.
More melting down" update (3/2): But will Bobby Brown back out? Update (3/5): Yep, he's out. Even so, Hot's effort was worth it.
Always the drama...it's not easy Being Bobby Brown...
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Friday, March 02, 2007,
Meanwhile, while looking for signs of the pending apocalypse...
Spotted this banner ad today promoting American Idol Katharine McPhee's new album "displaying" a still promo shot from McPhee's appearance last week on Tyra Banks' TV talk show, with Tyra "checking" to see if McPhee's breasts are "real".
(I'd normally include the support links...but it somehow feels dirty and wrong [plus she's already getting plenty of "support" from Tyra], so I'll pass this time except for the banner ad location)
This is how you launch a post-Idol career? This is promotion? By getting felt up by Tyra on national TV to "prove" your breasts are real? Tyra's shocked (SHOCKED!) expression of "whoa, look at these!"? McPhee smiling at the camera, thinking "look at these!"?
I guess McPhee is just selling her best content...(note: it's not her music)
"I've got the whole world in my hands, I've got the whole wide world in my hands..."
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Thursday, March 01, 2007,