As part of a panel at yesterday’s LiSTNR Audio Amplified event, Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) CEO Grant Blackley confirmed a strong period of growth for the platform and set the stage for the future plans of LiSTNR.
Also part of the panel were LiSTNR’s Grant Tothill (pictured, far left) and Jennifer Goggin (centre left), plus podcast personalities and hosts Mark ‘Howie’ Howell (centre) and Abbie Chatfield (centre right).
During the panel, Blackley (pictured, far right) was quizzed on the future of the LiSTNR platform and for radio and podcasts in general, and was quick to defend the mediums as growing “from strength to strength”.
“Audio, in terms of consumption, is growing,” said Blackley. “The one thing that is universally talked about on an international level is that audience’s consumption is growing. A lot of platforms we compete against, consumption is declining. Audio is not – it’s growing.
“Radio is resilient, the Edison report [that was] recently released talks about that and gives us evidence to that fact. And we know that podcasting, rom coms, etc, are all driving increased listening across the board.”
Part of the ongoing strength of the LiSTNR platform comes from the forward planning involved in its inception and its future. Blackley explained that LiSTNR’s future was planned out in two-year intervals, up to a total of six years, and that as the platform approaches the end of its second year on the market it has already begun looking forward.
“LiSTNR is no longer just a pup. It is growing and accelerating. Audiences are growing exponentially. As I said before, our marketing shift has moved from so many different things to principally get behind LiSTNR because it is housing all of our content in one place. So the megaphone is nothing short of outstanding. And if you don’t hear it, or you don’t see it, or you don’t watch it with LiSTNR on it, we’re probably not doing a great job.”
This idea of LiSTNR’s exponential growth is driving the idea within the company of a potential for international reach in the future – something that Blackley believes they have up on their competitors.
“We built the infrastructure, unlike many of our peers, and unlike many in the world. We own and operate the product, we built it from scratch, we envisioned it, and we built it because we couldn’t find a product like LiSTNR anywhere in the world.
“But I guess it depends, do we want to move into markets with a partner, or do we want to go there ourselves? Because with this tech, you don’t need regulation, you don’t need towers, you don’t need infrastructure, because you’ve actually fundamentally built the base of what is the global product. And in many ways you have a brand when you look at it. So the boundaries are beyond our shores, which is pleasing, and a lot of the content will travel and the stories will travel.”
The scale at which LiSTNR has grown even has Blackley considering moving on from the SCA brand entirely in favour of the audio platform, much to the surprise of his fellow panelists and colleagues present.
“One day you might not even see us called SCA, you might see us called LiSTNR,” mused Blackley. “I could see a world where in actual fact, if it is in the center of our universe and is driving all of our growth ambitions, and it houses all of our product. Maybe it’s a natural extension, who knows.”
The Audio Amplified event showcased some of the many ways LiSTNR is being used by Australians today, including waking up with radio, listening to podcasts at the gym or travelling to work, and chilling out at home. It also highlighted some of the biggest success stories of the last two years on the platform, including the introduction of audio fiction such as rom-com ‘The Younger Man’.
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