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What is the future of radio?

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The hope we were having a few years ago that younger listeners on the internet would move back to so-called linear consumption, is gone (see our latest article on radio consumption habits). We are currently in a period of transition, as the CEO if the BBC pointed out in a recent speech, and we don’t know where we are heading to. This is a context of maximal uncertainty for the future of radio.

 

Skipping tracks is the biggest problem

Non-linear consumption is taking over and the only possibility to keep someone on your channel is to allow skipping.

Next time you’re with a Gen Y or Z in a car, observe how he/she is quickly to skip channel if he/she doesn’t the song played.

Skipping on your channel or outside is the only thing you can influence.

 

 

The right content to the right audience

According to Andrew Scott (head of radio and music at BBC) there are 3 key factors to achieve the ultimate goal of any media company : “the right content to the right audience”.

  1. Really deep understanding of your audience (genre of music preferred, when consumption takes place, what type of content at which time)
  2. Really deep understanding of the contentCategorizing your content according to genre and artist is definitely not enough. Few of you probably know Pandora, an online radio provide amazing recommendations. It takes them a team of 10 people to listen to all tracks and tag them according to 450 criteria!
  3. Deep thought: having access to the technology is not the problem. Finding the right balance between editorial and algorithmic is the most difficult challenge

 

Challenges faced by the BBC

In this transition, the BBC faces several changes

  • One sign-in (SSO) is the key to access consumption habit (BBC ID). Yet, after 4 years, only 5% of users have signed in.
  • Content: BBC has 57 different radio stations. It’s not possible to encapsulate that much content into one meaningful service for the customer
  • Dividing linear content in meaningful segments is a real challenge
  • Each radio brand has its own identity. Personalizing and mixing the content brought out is subject to acceptance by listeners.
  • Each radio has its own sound pattern that needs to be taken into account when recommending content to the user

 

Conclusion

Big Data can definitely help personalizing interactions. Technological evolutions (DAB+, Hybrid radios) will enable to harness consumers’ behaviors changes and propose meaningful recommendations. However, the metadata around your content need to be right. It is illusory to think that genre and artists are the best predictor for a recommendation. Numerous iterations will most surely be required to shape the final service and to bring the right content to the right audience.

 

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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