Daily Archives: May 26th, 2011

What Do Listeners Want?

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I was recently asked to weigh in on radio’s future for a “crowdsourced” speech at RadioInk’s Convergence Conference. Here is what I wrote:

In 5-10 years the term “radio” will encompass all audio content that is distributed as continuous programming and delivered via various technologies including broadcast, satellite, and streaming. Radio devices will receive such programming from all of these sources seamlessly, so there will be less and less focus on which technology is delivering it. The listener will select programming from a list of presets that shows broadcast radio next to streaming radio next to satellite choices.

As they are empowered by more and more choices, the consumer will become more selective and less tolerant of mediocre programming. It will be the content offerings rather than the technologies that draw in the listener.

With so many listening options, listeners will be less tolerant of ad content that offers them no value. This will further cheapen mass appeal advertising, but it will drive the use of more targeted, relevant ad creative. Free, ad-supported stations will obtain permission from listeners who will opt to receive targeted, relevant ads. Those ads will be more valuable to them and will show a higher return on investment for the advertiser.

The ability for listeners to interact with and respond to programming and advertising will become critical, stations and advertisers will develop more and better ways to do this such as sms and online 1-click solutions that make it as easy for listeners to respond to an ad as it is to give a song “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.”

I’m thinking more and more these days about the large number of listening choices that consumers now have and the way that that will impact just about everything in the future. Listeners are empowered and can choose exactly what they want to listen to, on what technology and device, and how they want to hear it. I think the winning platforms will be the ones that recognize that. What do you think?

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