Guest Blogger: McVay New Media President Daniel Anstandig

 RADIO IN 3D

by Daniel Anstandig

Radio cannot grow if its operators insist on constricting the delivery of their brands to the sense of sound.  Sure, there is no way around the fact that “speakers to ears” is our primary delivery method. Still, listeners and advertisers are now challenging radio stations to “think outside the speakers” into the interactive world. They want three-dimensional radio.

Many advertisers are now convinced that an audio ad is no longer enough to reach their customers. New Media has opened up new options to reach consumers—outside of television and radio, and local direct advertisers are buying campaigns that are “diversified” in nature. Radio/advertising companies that offer a multi-dimensional solution to advertisers (including audio, online showcasing, online lead generation, etc.) are more likely to win the lion-share of the business.  Many of the radio companies we consult on building their digital marketing/sales strategies have reported that the street-level enthusiasm for radio buys with an interactive bend is at an all-time high.

McVay New Media’s 2008 Interactive Revenue forecast is calling for a 9% increase in this year’s spending on local banner ads alone. Across the United States in 2008, we will see approximately $10 Billion spent on local internet advertising by local direct buyers. Last year, radio is estimated to have pulled a whopping 1% share of that revenue.

These numbers concur with a study done by Borrell and Associates, which estimates that only 1.1% of last year’s $8.5 Billion spent in local online advertising (banners, audio/video streaming, and paid search engine placement combined) went to a radio station. Approximately $1.2 Billion dollars in streaming audio/video advertising alone will be placed online by local advertisers in 2008 (up 317% from 2007). It is estimated that $6.3 Billion will be spent by local advertisers on banner ads alone.

Broadcasters now stand at a cross-roads on whether to further include interactive media into their advertising-product-portfolio or not. The operators that effectively include interactive media in their strategies for audience and revenue growth will see returns this year. The operators without a vision for including interactive in their plans will leave money on the table—and sacrifice dollars to local internet portals.

Interactive advertising is not just a play for the major markets. Sioux Falls, South Dakota is Arbitron market #309 with a population of just over 100,000 people. This year, $18.8 Million will be spent on local online advertising (“standard placement” and audio/video streaming combined) in the Sioux Falls DMA. Zanesville, Ohio is not even an Arbitron rated market. Yet, according to our projections from Borell and Associates, $4.2 Million will be spent by local advertisers this year in the Zanesville DMA.

Radio has long offered advertisers the value preposition of “immediacy” and “access to instant purchasers.” The convergence of digital media with radio is essential to radio’s future credibility when it comes to “immediacy” and “access to buyers right before the point-of-purchase.” In that regard, more broadcasters will invest in developing interactive media this year.

For an example of a 3-D radio concept, go to one of our clients: www.planet965.com and click on “Tard’s Tat” on the navigation menu. Tard is the morning show host at KFTE/Lafayette, Louisiana. The local tattoo shop ran an on-air campaign that also referred back to the station’s website where listeners could watch the morning show host “getting inked” and download a coupon for the store. Regent Lafayette’s local Interactive Sales Manager, Sondra Suggs, also knocked the ball out of the park for a local indoor baseball and softball training facility with a “Celebrity Hit-a-Thon” at KRKA/Lafayette.  See the 3-D concept for yourself at www.1079ishot.com.

Another aspect of three-dimensional-marketing is mobile marketing / cell phone applications. Progressive companies are now using cell phones to reach their customers. Case-in-point: Starbucks. Use your phone to text a zip code to “MYSBUX” (697289) on your cell phone. Then, Starbucks will instantaneously respond with the location of up to three stores in your immediate area.

WAAF/Boston is also using SMS text to interact with their listeners—another example of a 3-D approach. Text “now playing” to 97101 on your cell phone, and you’ll receive an instant response with the title and artist of the song currently playing. They also offer concert and contest alerts via SMS.

For more examples of a three-dimensional approach to serving your audience and advertisers, visit www.mcvaymedia.com/newmedia 

Daniel Anstandig is President/McVay New Media Consulting. Reach him at dan@daer.com.

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