ONLINE RADIO ADVERTISING The hard sel of online radio Like most other industries, media is going through tough economic times. Media planners and buyers are increasingly looking for maximum return on investment, along with thorough campaign feedback for their clients. This makes selling advertising space more difficult, particularly for the online radio medium, which is still trying to prove itself as a reliable, worthwhile investment. MICHAEL BRATT tunes in. Unoficially measured listener numbers, scepticism from agencies who are still stuck in the traditional buying mindset, the high cost of data in South Africa, unfamiliarity from people about where they can find the platforms, and many who are scared of the unknown, are all problems plaguing online radio platforms, specifically when it comes to trying to convince agencies and clients to part with their ad spend. CEO of the Liberty Radio Awards, Lance Rothschild, summed it up perfectly when he said, “Online-only broadcasters are not making any real revenue, and to the best of my knowledge, this is a global trend.” Radio management and programming consultant, Tim Zunckel, shares Rothschild’s view saying, “Online radio hasn’t been very successful in figuring out a revenue model that best suits the medium. We’ve approached it from a very traditional point of view, where we have a product and we try and sell traditional advertising… People need to think about their programming and how their content is attractive to advertisers. We’ve taken the old FM model and just changed the delivery platform and that’s disappointing.” Station scenarios Jon Savage, founder of The Eye, tells how they have been “deep in pitches for over a year now, from agencies to brands, big and small – from all different levels and if I’m honest, we are yet to close an advertising budget with any real legs”, he says. “It’s VERY frustrating as we now host one of the biggest shows in the country and believe we have one of the biggest digital listenerships by FAR, but we are still struggling to find brands who are brave enough to spend money in the digital radio space … Brands still feel more comfortable spending money on well known personalities as opposed to meaningful content,” he adds. Busisiwe Ntuli, founder of TransAfrica Radio, says “advertisers are still more comfortable advertising through paid for interviews and on our website, rather than the online radio platform”. Both TransAfrica Radio, as well as Gareth Cliff’s online radio offering, CliffCentral, have been on drives to educate agencies and clients about the medium and the opportunities it presents. Interest from national sales houses National, traditional radio sales houses have noticed all the effort online stations are putting in; United Stations is now selling advertising for both The Eye and CliffCentral. Awake Online, South Africa’s first online radio sales house, is also making big moves, adding TransAfrica Radio and Massiv Metro to its portfolio of 11 online stations, and forming partnerships with big agencies and direct clients. Awake Online offers integrated packages across multiple online stations in its portfolio. “It hasn’t been very easy selling ourselves, not having someone independent who can verify what we’re actually saying, so agencies have been quite sceptical,” explains Ntuli.
THE MADIA JUNE 2018
To see the actual publication please follow the link above