Growing Radio’s Digital Share Is The Answer

This guest column by Jennifer Lane was originally published in Audio4cast.

News around the US radio industry over the past week included Disney’s announcement that it will shut down operations at 23 of its 24 Radio Disney stations and concentrate on digital distribution platforms for the Radio Disney format. Partnerships with Slacker and Aha Radio – two streaming platforms, as well as Sirius XM satellite are the preferred partners mentioned in the announcement, and I suspect direct distribution will remain part of the formula as well.

As if to echo and underline that sentiment, on Friday the RAB released a 2Q Revenue Report that reflects a 3% drop in revenue driven by a 5% drop in core spot revenue. The upward momentum in digital (up 9%) and off air revenues (up 13%) mitigated some of that loss.

Of course, there has been a lot of analysis and discussion about ways that the industry can do a better job of selling its core spot inventory. None of which is a waste of time. But the reality, as acknowledged by Disney’s news, is that digital platforms are growing in terms of revenue and audience, and it’s a great place to put focus. Sure, broadcasters should look for better ways to frame and sell their core inventory. But they should also begin to aggressively grow their share of the digital pie. That opportunity is expansive, and requires a concentration of resources that only a few broadcasters have begun to dedicate.

RAIN Summits – the premiere educational and networking conferences for the online audio industry – take place several times each year in the US and Europe, and the next one just happens to be taking place on Tuesday September 9th at the Radio Show produced by NAB and RAB. The agenda is chock full of topics that will stimulate your digital innards:

  • Ad Models with Impact
  • Big Data and Streaming Audio
  • Mobile is the New Black
  • Maximizing Radio’s Hyperlocal Digital Opportunity

We’ll have a panel of legal experts discussing meaningful royalty issues, and another panel examining – with the help of a Grammy nominated artist and several programming experts – how EDM (Electronic Dance Music) became a gigantic phenomenon without any broadcast radio or record label support. And Edison’s Larry Rosin will present some brand new data from his extremely insightful Share of Ear Study.

It’s 2014 and the time is now to put more focus on your digital strategy. Registration is still open for RAIN Summit Indy. Make plans to join us. See you there!


Jennifer Lane