Delegates attending Radiocentre’s Tuning in Scotland: See Radio Differently event in Edinburgh heard this week (Wednesday March 8 2017) that commercial radio has just enjoyed a record-breaking 2016, taking £645.8 million in ad revenue in 2016, its highest ever figure.
In her opening presentation, Radiocentre Chief Executive Siobhan Kenny predicted that success would continue in 2017 with technological innovation and changes to regulation governing commercial radio in progress. Kenny confirmed that Radiocentre will continue its campaign, both in Westminster and Brussels, for better regulation for financial advertisers while always ensuring that consumers are properly protected.
Unwieldy financial Terms & Conditions (Ts&Cs) are uniquely intrusive in an audio environment and, research shows, they make little impact on listeners, only 4% of whom have any recollection of the numbers. The deterrent factor on advertisers is significant and is estimated to cost the industry around £100m a year in lost revenues, Kenny revealed. “If there is one group of people I’d like to persuade to see radio differently, it is the regulators responsible for consumer protection” she told delegates. “The Great Repeal Bill (which the British government will use to enshrine EU regulation into UK law post-Brexit) is an opportunity for the UK government to be at the vanguard of consumer protection while enabling businesses to advertise more effectively on the radio.” Towards the end of the conference, Radiocentre welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement in the Budget of a plan to tackle Ts&Cs used in ads that are hard to understand.
In the creative/technology session, Michael Hill, Managing Director of Radioplayer, demonstrated the ‘smart radio’ system Radioplayer Car – the world’s first voice-controlled radio adaptor that will seamlessly switch between DAB, FM and internet radio. The product, launched earlier this month has been designed to provide the best radio listening experience for drivers. “Radioplayer Car is true to our core principles that radio should be simple, open and free” he said. “How many other media sectors can claim to be doing the same?”
Michael MacIntyre, Group Business Director at Global, discussed digital audio exchange DAX, whilst also having the audience wearing blindfolds and earphones to showcase 3D Audio (“virtual reality for the ears”). The astonishing, immersive power of binaural sound had people wincing to the sound of dentist’s drill and even more gruesome scenes. In the context of the digital audio advertising platform DAX, the potential for advertisers rapidly became apparent.
Asda’s former VP Customer Proposition & Planning Claire Harrison-Church, an experienced marketer who has also held senior positions at Sainsbury’s and Boots, discussed the power of audio and the crucial role radio can play in overcoming some of the challenges that advertisers face. “It’s easy to see radio as an audio channel and believe it can’t do emotional brand building for you because it’s not visual whereas in truth, particularly if you have a big music track, radio works brilliantly with TV, which can be a very good channel for emotional brand building,” she says. “Music is an important part of developing great TV ads, but it is also a great way then to extend TV into other channels.”
Taking on the theme of radio’s brand building properties, Mark Barber, Radiocentre Planning Director, provided empirical evidence of its efficacy in the latest research, The Brand Multiplier. The study identifies how radio promotes brand growth in three ways: helping brands spring to mind more readily in purchasing decisions (salience); magnifying brand communication beyond the impact of audio-visual advertising alone; and improving cost effectiveness. “If you are seeking to drive brand-led growth, this research highlights how adding radio to your plan alongside TV can optimise both overall effectiveness and efficiency,” he explained.