IGEM event on the future of radio and audio advertising

Digital usage of radio and audio content is increasing, generating more inventory for audio advertising. With the planned FM switch-off in January 2023, radio will become a 100% digital medium. What does this mean for audio content re-financing? Will the commercial side follow the audio usage boom? The IGEM event on the future of radio and audio advertising provided the first answers.

The IGEM Radio Audio Advertising event: Aline Rutishauser from Radio FM1 talks to IGEM President Stephan Küng.

Together with the Swiss Private Radio Association (VSP) and IAB Switzerland, the Electronic Media Interest Group (IGEM) organised a focused event on the "Future of Radio-Audio Advertising". At the virtual event, speakers from Switzerland and abroad presented the outlook for radio and audio advertising.

For Anja Hänni, Head of Print, Radio and OOH at the agency network Dentsu Switzerland, classic radio campaigns can be reinforced or extended with digital audio spots. But a purely digital audio campaign is no substitute for classic radio advertising, whose broad reach is indispensable. For a successful audio future, Anja Hänni would like to see more targeting options, more information about digital users and clickable audio spots. Anja Hänni welcomes joint initiatives from the radio and audio industry: "Today I book radio stations, tomorrow I'm no longer interested in which station my spot is broadcast on, but to whom. For that I need the whole industry and not individual stations."

Iso Rechsteiner, project manager of the Digimig digital migration working group, presents the latest data from autumn 2020 on Swiss radio usage. Digital radio usage is on the rise: 73 percent of radio usage now takes place digitally. 41 out of 100 radio minutes listened to happen via DAB+ and 32 minutes via IP - i.e. via computer, tablet or smartphone. Whereas in 2015 51 out of 100 radio minutes listened to were via FM, in autumn 2020 this will only be 27 minutes. In the car, 45 percent of radio usage is still heard via FM. But even in the car, the majority of radio use (55 percent) is now digital - via DAB+ or IP. As a result, Stephan Küng, President of IGEM and owner of the media agency TWmedia, was cautiously optimistic about the switch to DAB+ in an interview with Radio FM1 presenter Aline Rutishauser.

Florian Wanner, Head of Radio at CH Media, shows that digital distribution via DAB+ or IP works in Switzerland. The use of national radio stations which are broadcast exclusively via DAB+ or IP, such as Virgin Rock or Energy Vintage, has increased despite the pandemic. CH Media's regional radio stations are also seeing an increase in usage via IP, and particularly at news times. "I am particularly pleased that radio usage via IP is sustainable," says Florian Wanner in this regard. CH Media thus has a larger advertising inventory for audio spots. However, Wanner also hints that marketing can still be expanded.

Matthias Kost, Managing Director of Radio Zürisee, then explains how such a marketing strategy can look with regard to the refinancing of audio content. Through digitalization, radio advertising is becoming international and competitors from outside the radio industry are coming in. For Matthias Kost, journalistic audio content with proximity to the audience therefore forms the backbone in the digital advertising market.

Ralf Brachat, Managing Director of Swiss Radioworld, shows how the radio market in Switzerland has already developed into an audio market. A broad portfolio of digital radio streams can be booked programmatically and with targeting since one month. In addition, Swiss Radioworld has collected all podcast advertising opportunities in Switzerland and makes it available as a bundled podcast offer.

Thomas Kabke-Sommer, Managing Director of Crossplan Germany, shows how value creation for audio publishers can be increased by bundling audio streams and consistent data management. For Kabke-Sommer, audio advertising needs to be as good at digital targeting as display or video advertising. With 15 million addressable profiles, Crossplan Germany can provide over 150 target group segments. And this is being used by the advertising industry: Of the 3,500 regional campaigns Crossplan Germany delivered in 2020, 95 percent had targeting, so they were data-driven.

Overall, the IGEM event shows that the radio market in Switzerland has already developed into an audio market. It is to be welcomed that various market partners and providers are working together to develop and advance industry solutions. If the demand from the advertising market for more targeting options and more information about digital users can be met, the audio market in Switzerland is in for an exciting time.

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