Southern Cross Austereo CEO Grant Blackley said while there might be a lot more work to be done, the business is steamrolling ahead in all the right ways.
Blackley spoke to B&T at the launch of SCA’s new venture, The Studio, on Friday, and said in the six months he has been at the helm, the company has “changed a lot”.
“We’ve changed and increased focus on the front of house, which is our content, our creative direction, our marketing, and our sales, and I think all of those are critical to a good media company,” Blackley explained.
“At the same time… we’re looking at a whole range of things at the back of house to try and streamline everything from the operations, the way in which we talk with each other, the way in which we talk to the market; all of that has come together, and there’s still a lot more work to be done but we’re really pleased with the progress.”
It’s not as if we haven’t been on the right track.
It was only late last year that Blackley said it was time for SCA to rejoin the big leagues and chase the audience and advertisers, to which he now says SCA is gaining speed.
“[In Sydney] I felt that we were targeting a little younger than we should and we needed to get back to a higher demographic profile, particularly in the 25-54s, and that’s where there’s a really large audience and a big group of advertisers seeking to engage,” Blackley told B&T.
“There’s no question that with Rove and Sam we’ve done that. We’ve also made some changes in Brisbane with Osher joining the guys up there, and outside of that we’re marketing a lot more aggressively across all of the stations, both in metro and regional. So all of that is moving forth, and I think that’s putting us into a place where there’s positive momentum and that we’re starting to lead the conversation and the agenda.”
As for the overall operation of the company, which Blackley had said was rather segmented, he said things are starting to fall into place.
“We’ve got the metro and regional radio networks together more often, we’ve equalised the reporting structure, we’ve equalised the amount of money that we’ll spend in both sectors without favour to one or the other to make sure that they’re coming together,” he explained. “We’re doing a whole range of different things that are actually propelling the company forward.”
“Broadly, TV is starting to fragment, we’re seeing that with consumer behaviour in terms of how they engage with television. They’re not engaging with television any less, they’re just engaging in a different way with television.
“So we have to continue to work on how do we push our brands forward, how do we push the assets that we have forward, and fundamentally, whilst that’s not the easiest brief, we will play our part once again at supporting free TV and supporting all the attributes of free TV, while at the same time supporting that with mobile, web, social aspects, that actually ensure that we push people back to television as the primary viewing.”
But Blackley told B&T he’s optimistic for the future of radio.
“I think [the industry] will only increase and I say that because it’s a highly engaged media, it’s a highly resilient media, it continues to surprise the market place, and I think it will continue to surprise the market on the upside,” Blackley added.
“You’re seeing higher audience and higher reach, and you’re seeing advertisers continue to invest in the medium, which continues to grow around about six to seven per cent on average, and I think we have to continue to give them reason to engage with our medium, both from a listener’s perspective and also an advertising perspective and I think the industry is doing that as a whole and we’re going to play our part in that.”