RAIN Digital Britain dazzles with expertise and range from broadcast to podcast

RAIN Digital Britain, the virtual version of RAIN’s annual European Summit event previously produced in London, was held in Zoom today, featuring seven sessions and 21 speakers. Created as a deep dive into the thriving UK digital audio business environment, the sessions and conversations roamed through priorities, challenges, and solutions from radio to broadcasting, plus a session on the quickly growing gaming segment.

The event was sponsored by industry-leading companies Megaphone, Triton Digital, and Targetspot.

A Multiple of Earnings

Francis Currie, International Audio Consultant

The proceeding start with a conversation by Francis Currie (International Audio Consultant) and Scott Taunton (CEO, Wireless Group UK). Currie, who is one of RAIN’s premier moderators, drew forth wisdom from Taunton about how broadcast participates in the modernization of listening. “The power of audio to engage is unbelievable,” Taunton said.

He discussed a podcast strategy that takes existing elements from the organization’s top brands — Sunday times, TalkSport, and others. That convergence locks in subscriptions, he said, with podcast listeners two to three times less likely to cancel than non-listeners. Podcasting is marginally loss-making, he said, “But we don’t expect that to last long.” 

And on a per-listener basis, “the amount of money we generate on podcasting is about 20 times per listener than on radio. That in itself makes it more  likely to succeed.”


Scott Taunton

Unlike other media, radio sits well in a digital world.” –Scott Taunton,CEO, Wireless Group UK

Digital Petri Dish

David Lloyd is another star interviewer at RAIN events. In RAIN Digital Britain he put admirably concise questions to Ben Cooper, Group Director Content & Music, Bauer Radio UK. 

Ben Cooper

“I want commercial radio to have the words of creativity and disruption associated with it,” Cooper said. In a way, the Covid disruption has helped foster creative disruption, forcing presenters to work from home using improvised spaces and new technology tools. “Presenters have set up in their kitchens, spare bedrooms, and wardrobes. It’s a digital petri dish — a real opportunity. We’ve had to change overnight.”

With new tools, Cooper prescribed greater creativity throughout radio to compete in a constantly changing and modernizing era. “We are in a global competition,” he said.

A Big Gulp for Gaming

“Gaming will swallow other media,” opined Phil Rowley, Head of Futures at Omnicom Media Group. This was part of a breakthrough initiative in RAIN Summit events to illuminate gaming as a global platform for digital audio. “We’ll listen to music within gaming; we’ll have learning environments within gaming. All media will congregate within gaming,” Rowley continued. 

Ivone Schramm, Triton Digital

Catching Up to the U.S.

Podcasting was covered extensively in the day’s presentations. Ben Masse of Triton digital and Adam Pattison of Targetspot each delivered slides detailing podcast metrics and digital audio’s growth in different formats.

“The UK podcast market is where the US market one or two years ago,” observed Nick Freeman (Head of Ad Sales, The Athletic) in the Podcasting Trends 2021 panel discussion. Freeman noted that advertisers understand the basic rationale of podcasting — captive audience; penetration of “me time” — but that the buys are small and tentative now in the UK. He anticipates that will change.

There was a consensus in this panel that the rising tide is more important than granular competition. Each panelist spoke of the need to work together to sway prospective ad buyers toward podcasting generally, even when the pitch is for a particular publisher’s shows. “It’s about growing the pie,” we heard over and over.

Brigid Judge, from Podsights in New York, explained that attribution and ad tech generally are on advertisers’ minds — “a need-to-have tool more than just an option.” 


“I’m not afraid of programmatic. I like programmatic. But we also have to worry about CPMs.” –Matt Turck, Chief Revenue Officer, Megaphone


In the day’s final session, moderator Steve Pratt, from Pacific Content and a frequent RAIN speaker, asked his three panelists for predictions. Here’s how that went to close out the event:

Gerard Edwards (CEO and Founder, Podcast Radio): “Everyone’s talking about the new normal. Post-Covid, loads of people are going to want to become better people. They’ll try new hobbies and all sorts of different things. Podcasting will be the answer to doing that.”

Anna Phelan (Lead Podcast Marketing, TED Conferences UK): “We’ll see both ends: Super niche and super generalist.”

Katharine Kerr (Director, Podcast Pioneers UK): “Twots more companies will buy each other, and there will be more scripted fiction.”


Brad Hill