I have been amused by some of the analyses I’m reading in the trades lately about how radio’s TSL is slipping and the culprit is….(drum roll)…mobile phones! The most recent was Inside Radio’s big headline “Mobile cuts into radio’s TSL.”
Maybe we should ask the NAB to see what they can do to convince the consumer electronics industry to slow down the sales of iPhones and Galaxy S IIIs this Christmas. Or maybe we should just urge radio broadcasters to simply stay away from those nasty smartphones because of their alleged erosive qualities.
I’m wondering if this TSL slippage just might have more to do with all the new entertainment options that consumers have before their eyes and ears. Mobile is simply a delivery mechanism, but the real story is about all the different content choices that are available, and the fact they can be accessed just about anywhere and anytime.
So maybe instead of sounding defensive or even close-minded, we should instead be encouraging radio to move even faster to take advantage of the mobile opportunity and actively participate in it.
The smartest minds in radio agree, from Bob Pittman, who has invested heavily in the iHeartRadio platform to the heads of just about every broadcast company. They are planning and strategizing with the future in mind. Are they crazy or do they see the incredible importance of mobile in consumers’ lives?
With so many of the media and technology advances of the past 10 years, broadcasters have had to sit on the sidelines…and stew. iPods, satellite radio, and other innovations cut broadcast radio out of the equation, often eroding AM and FM listening.
Mobile is just the opposite – an inclusive revolution that invites anyone with great content and a modicum of creativity to participate. There is no more democratic space than mobile, and oh yes, it’s the hottest thing going.
And did I mention that smartphones are the conduit that takes consumer infotainment into cars? Ask every major automaker. That’s why we continue to research the automotive space because the lion’s share of radio listening not only takes place on four wheels, but last time I checked, the top advertising category for most stations is…cars and car dealerships.
Readers of this blog and Jacobs Media clients are very aware of the “digital dashboard” movement, a topic that we’ll explore in depth at the Arbitron Client Conference in Annapolis this December. I have video footage from some of the key automakers that will motivate broadcasters to clean up their streams and take a more aggressive approach. No one will consider stopping streaming as a solution once you’ve seen these clips.
Earlier this week, RAIN published the following chart from eMarketer that says it all about the trajectory of media usage. Everyone is being impacted by the mobile revolution – but of course, everyone can also have a co-starring role in it. All things considered, radio is down, but still in the low 90 minute range for average TSL per day:
That mobile revenue has lagged is a fact. eMarketer also reports that while mobile now constitutes nearly 12% of a consumer’s overall media time, it is only returning <2% of advertising dollars.
Facebook and Google share in the frustration, but they also realize that when you’re dealing with the Wild West, it takes time for it all to get sorted out. As I explain every time I present Techsurvey8, when the big elephants figure it out (and recent Facebook financial data indicates they’re making progress), we will all benefit from new-found mobile revenue opportunities.
That is, if we choose to play, and play enthusiastically. This is another of those moments in time when broadcasters (and all global business sectors) have to take a look at the space and determine how they can benefit and play a role. Radio has a chance to occupy some incredible beachfront property on the desktops of smartphones and tablets – in homes, in offices, and in cars.
This is not the time to whine, deny, and turn away from the most amazing devices of our lifetimes.
And by the way. When was the last time you saw someone buy a radio? But walk by an Apple Store at any hour of the day, and they’re lined up to buy the latest release. And it’s probably been a while since you’ve seen a TV commercial for a radio station. But turn on any television show and wait no longer than 10 minutes to see advertising for a mobile phone, tablet, computer, or a search engine.
This is a tech tidal wave and the good news is that broadcasters are welcome.