When It Comes To Audio, Broadcasters And Brands Need To Listen To Their Audience

When It Comes To Audio, Broadcasters And Brands Need To Listen To Their Audience

Brands and broadcasters alike aren’t listening to their audiences when it comes to the world of audio, and in this guest post, Tom Fryett, director, Accuen Australia, Omnicom Media Group, has a few words to say on it.

B&T Magazine
Posted by B&T Magazine

Last week, the lengthy court case between the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA – representing Record Labels and Artists) and Commercial Radio Australia (CRA – representing broadcasters) reached its conclusion.

Ruling in favour of the PPCA, Commercial radio broadcasters will have to pay a separate fee for songs streamed over the internet.

Incredibly, this court case began in 2009, going through in the meantime the High Court, the Federal Court and at least one government enquiry. In that time One Direction have formed, flown to the top of the charts but somehow also too close to the sun, burning bright but ultimately out in the incandescent glare of the media spotlight.

Will we ever see their like again? And what of Becky with the good hair? In 2009, not only announcing her releasing her albums in a conventional manner, Beyoncé was highlighting the advantages of a Video Phone which she suggested was extremely useful for communicating with Shawn regularly while on the I Am… World Tour.

To give you a true idea of how long a seven-year period is in music, in 2009 Justin Bieber was still yet to bestow Never Say Never upon a grateful public, let alone debut a bold new haircut in a courtroom setting.

In 2009, it would have been almost timely to say “people’s listening habits are changing”. In 2016, we can see more and more evidence of being in a post music ownership age, with audio streaming services in their myriad forms growing fast as people embrace access over ownership.

Once upon a time we marvelled at the ability for a portable device to contain one person’s entire music collection. With Smartphone penetration in Australia at 81 per cent (Source: Nielsen), an increasing number of us now accept that if we can think of a song, we can listen to it near instantly.

The very idea of a music collection in a physical sense is being replaced by personalised playlists renewed by an algorithm on a weekly basis. What need does generation rent have for boxes full of CDs when Spotify push their bespoke Discover Weekly playlist to all their devices every Monday?

Unsurprising then that according to Roy Morgan, those aged 18-24 streaming music online has risen +43 per cent in the past five years, and +65 per cent for the 14-17 year olds. But the fastest growing segments over the same period are actually the 25-39 and 40-54 age groups.

Record labels and artists have seen the growing effect of this in other parts of their business throughout the process with the Radio industry, with ad-supported and subscription streaming revenue increasing exponentially in 2015 versus 2014 (Source: PWC).

People are voting with their ears for new ways to discover and listen to music, the effect of which has been seen both in the emergence and conclusion of the landmark case between the CRA and PPCA. Now that case has reached its coda, the impetus is there for broadcasters to start dynamically allocating ads when people are streaming via internet radio sites and apps.

Intercepting the simulcast feed, radio stations pressed to pay a separate fee to record labels will look to monetise the ad breaks separately, overlaying an ad potentially targeting a completely different audience to the ads served in the conventional linear broadcast radio stream.

Excitingly, far from being unready for an increase in inventory, future facing radio broadcasters in Australia are already selling their digital audio inventory in an automated and data driven way that allows brands to holistically target an audience wherever they may be listening.

The Australian Audio Exchange, A2X, aggregates inventory from music streaming services like Spotify as well as internet radio players like SCA’s Triple M app.

For brands looking to tap into changing listening habits by delivering a message built only for a digital audio environment, or add incremental reach to their audio campaign across traditional radio, a programmatic approach to planning and buying audio ads opens up the whole audience potential across a fragmented landscape.

Though traditional radio is dominated by four key players, internet radio and music streaming offers the audience a great deal of choice. Fortunately, as this traditional channel has adopted a programmatic approach, data has not been forgotten in the excitement of automation.

The opportunity for the brand presented by, for example, Spotify alone and their treasure chest of user data and with it their insight into all those different life events (they have a pretty good idea of what your first dance was at your wedding) and even emotions and mindsets is something quite unique in the programmatic space.

With a head start on technology and now the commercial incentive to leverage it further, Programmatic Radio in Australia is set to scale at a rate the Digital Out-of-Home and TV sectors will surely watch with envy.

The cross industry cooperation as a response to cross industry factors such as the recent court ruling as well as people’s changing listening habits is a key reason why this channel will catch-up with the consumer far quicker.

Brands have a huge opportunity in 2016 to test and learn something relatively new, past its early headline grabbing automation only beginning, now a programmatic opportunity proper with customised data overlays and private marketplaces available.

Those brands that do test this year, either alone or alongside traditional radio campaigns, this year will be on the strongest footing to take their learnings forward as more music streaming, internet radio and in time podcast inventory sources plug into the programmatic radio ecosystem.

The times, they are a changing, but broadcasters and brands are ready to start listening to their audience.