Regional radio thrives in 2015, but digital change is coming

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Cindy Diamond

Looking back on 2015, radio has continued to hold its own with advertisers and
listeners, even as consumers turn to social media and their mobile phones for
information, conversation and entertainment. We are also seeing digital technology
change the market rapidly, and radio stations need to be fast on their feet if they
want to keep up.

Here are a few of the trends that shaped the media landscape in 2015 and are likely
to remain relevant in 2016.

Community and regional radio prospers

Radio has been resilient in the face of the growth of digital media and advertising.
Community and regional radio are performing well because they create a sense of
community, offer an affordable entry point for brands of all sizes, and build a
personal connection with listeners.

New competition

Radio stations face growing competition from new digital players, with big names
like Barney Simon, Darren Scott and Gareth Cliff entering the online radio and
podcasting space over the past few years. Moreover, music streaming services are
also a competitive reality.

From radio stations to content platforms

We have seen a slight dip in radio listenership numbers across stations and
programmes, but it is not statistically significant. However, the most worrying
declines are among young people who are turning to online streaming and social
media for their music and news fix. This is one reason radio stations are looking at
how they can leverage digital platforms in their mix.

Converged media strategies pay off

Brands today need to think about customers rather than channels as they build
campaigns and try to reach consumers with short attention spans. The question isn’t
just how to get the best reach and frequency (although this remains important), but
how to use a combination of touch points to engage with consumers effectively.

This means combining platforms and assets to effectively interact with consumers
in a fragmented and cluttered media landscape. Such multichannel campaigns are
effective in amplifying a message, increasing its impact, and extending its reach, all
helping an advertiser to maximise return on investment and meet its business
objectives.

We have seen big brands such as Gumtree and Old Mutual score major successes
with converged campaigns in 2015. The key to their success is that they are
conceptualised, executed and measured in an integrated and coordinated manner.

By Cindy Diamond, group sales director at Mediamark

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