Dan Stainsby 16 Feb 2018 // 12:11PM GMT
What does your broadcast media diet consist of? What will you watch and listen to today and how will you do so? The latest RAJAR results came out today, showing the performance of radio stations up and down the country, but there’s a risk in over celebrating their reception.
Almost 25 years ago, we started working with clients to help them “harness the power of radio”. We had a fairly simple proposition: radio is one of the most trusted and popular forms of media so you’d be crazy not to include it in your PR or marketing mix.
This still rings true, with the RAJAR results revealing 90% of the population tune into radio every week, typically listening to 21 hours and 18 minutes of live radio during that time. These figures have remained almost unchanged over the last decade, despite disruptive technology ushering in the advent of an “attention economy”, where traditional and new media compete for our eyes and ears.
In fact, UKOM’s latest UK Digital Market Overview highlights just how technology has enabled, rather than restricted, broadcast consumption. It reveals how TV (40%) and radio (35%) are ranked first and second in terms of share of time by tablet use (and for the first time, Spotify and Netflix enter the top 10 mobile apps by minutes measured across all mobile devices). And the RAJAR results inform us that 26% of adults, rising to 35% of 15 to 24 year olds, now listen to radio via smartphone or tablet.
The media we enjoy and how we consume it has undeniably changed and I’d argue passionately that it’s for the better. Yet my colleagues and I are regularly asked to arrange “radio days” by clients. Why is this? It’s largely our own fault, having built our own ISDN studios all those years ago. This allowed us to pioneer a day of interviews with radio stations across the UK from one location. Replacing what was until then a literal radio tour, with a campaign spokesperson wasting half their day in a car.
But while I’m pleased with the enduring success of this model, I fear the effectiveness and efficiency of it may be narrowing some people’s appreciation of what broadcast means in 2018.
For example, my media consumption over the last 24 hours included attending the live recording of “Truth & Movies: A Little White Lies Podcast”, hosted by James Richardson. This morning, my day began with Nicky Campbell and Rachel Burden joining me for breakfast, courtesy of BBC Radio Five Live, before former White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor gave me my geopolitics briefing on the way to work, via Crooked Media and Pod Save the World.
So, while I’ll be sharing and celebrating the latest RAJAR results with my clients, I’ll be sure to contextualise them. This means highlighting the potential of new content formats, from podcasts and social video to live streaming, delivered in partnership with existing media owners, or independently where there is merit in becoming the media owner.
Dan Stainsby is markettiers deputy MD and PRCA broadcast group chairman.