Paul Jacobs recently shared conclusions about the future of corporate support revenue based on years of research and data analysis. Jacobs is vice president/general manager of Jacobs Media, which has provided programming, digital, sales, and social media consulting to commercial and public radio stations for the past 35 years. Jacobs Media is also home to the Halo Effect research we use every day. His conclusions underscore some essential - and imminent - realities about the way we sell underwriting in today’s media environment.
People have many more ways to spend their time with media today than they ever have in the past. Radio accounts for 17% of all media consumption, and this holds true across all ages. While the car remains the main place people listen, 20% of smart speaker owners say they are listening to a little more or a lot more radio, which speaks to more in-home listening. Of course, the days of two bands and five presets on the dashboard are over. The amount of content and content sources competing for listeners’ attention is vast.[Continued below...]
Radio has changed dramatically, as have the ways people consume content. If we look at our listeners just as radio listeners, we are missing all the other ways they access us. Streams, podcasts, websites, social media, mobile, you name it and our audience is there. Our terrestrial stations are just one of our platforms to sell. Our audiences are sourcing our content across multiple platforms: 89% of public radio listeners access us on radio, leaving 11% who find us elsewhere.
If you are not selling at least some of the above, you are going to see declines in revenue.
Digital will surpass even TV this year in revenue; radio is flat. Public media is in a much better position than our commercial radio counterparts. Our content is stronger and our audiences are extremely desirable to marketers. Perhaps the number-one thing we have going for us is something that Jacobs believes we don’t focus on enough: the trust factor. Our listeners trust what they hear on our airwaves, which does transfer to our sponsors.
This is a great time to be in public media because for the first time we have the ability to tie everything together for our clients. We have more solutions and opportunities than ever. Our clients should not care how we provide access to our audiences. And we have a huge advantage over digital pure plays such as Pandora because we can promote our content on our airwaves, streams and through social media, etc- in a sense, we have our own megaphones.
As sellers we have to be able to speak to overall marketing goals, strategies and data. We must include some digital strategy in every pitch, whether it’s streaming, mobile, display ads, or even video. Your clients will thank you for it.