Mon, 31 Jan 2022 / Published in Audio Streaming, LATEST NEWS

The new year is in full swing, and the audio revolution is showing no signs of slowing down. Audio creation and consumption have both gone through major shifts over the last two years, as the world continues to grapple with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The face of audio is set to continue changing in 2022. Perhaps even faster than we might think. 

From the rise of unconventional new competitors, all the way to opportunities to listen to, repurpose and distribute an abundance of premium content from all over the world, there’s quite a bit going on. Mindful of this, it’s worth taking a look at the potential impact of these changes within the evolving audio landscape over the next twelve months.

Radio’s essential role during the pandemic

Although it might feel like the first lockdown in 2020 was a long time ago, in the grander scheme of things the pandemic has only been a part of daily life for a relatively short period. Radio has been one of the mediums that really stepped it up since then, diving in head first and keeping people entertained and informed in a period of high uncertainty, and with the threat of fake news around every corner.

This has contributed to the now booming face of audio — which has long been on the radar of tech companies and Silicon Valley startups — but is only just beginning to gain a lot of mainstream momentum. The widespread adoption of voice notes have played an important part in this too. Radio is the master of reinvention, but as powerful as it is, it is going to come under more pressure from a variety of new sources this year. This is especially true considering the revenue growth numbers many commercial radio stations are posting in what is a very delicate global economic climate.

The revised face of audio?

The changing face of audio might be better described as a revised face of audio. Media consumption habits are going through major shifts all over the world. In the US, the average adult consumes about 11 hours of media every day; 20.2% more than a decade ago. Mobile consumption is up to an average of a rather staggering 252 minutes a day.

Audio content creators and distributors are having to think out of the box to meet the changing needs of their audiences, in order to get a slice of the (attention) pie. These all have to be mindful that consumption habits are generation-specific too. Baby boomers still prefer traditional media, whereas GenZ’s are quite predictably glued to their mobile devices. Knowing who you’re speaking to matters, but it’s about more than just high quality content these days. How it gets delivered and how that slots into the life of the consumer can mean the difference between good engagement, or simply being passed over for something else.

New competition from non-traditional establishments

Not being passed over means keeping an eye on all the new competition popping up. These are increasingly coming from non-traditional establishments that spot the opportunity of poaching a traditional radio audience. A prime example of this is the Los Angeles Times; formerly a written publication that has had to pivot over the last decade to counter dwindling revenues in print media.

By creating The Times — a popular daily podcast that has great monetisation potential — they have successfully navigated some very murky waters. They haven’t changed what they have always done best: high-quality journalism. The difference now is that these in-studio interviews, detailed reports and more are all going to live online forever, with the potential to repurpose the content elsewhere at a later stage too. Other podcasts are knocking on the doors of the attention spans of traditional radio audiences too.

Wonder(y) and podcasting power

That’s not to say that radio isn’t ready to put up a good fight. In a bid to get ahead of the curve, African Media Entertainment recently signed a deal to partner with Wondery, the biggest independent podcast distributor in the world. The collaboration means that AME has the rights to promote some of the countless Wondery podcasts through subsidiaries, like Algoa FM and OFM.

The latest PWC Media Outlook estimates 19 million monthly podcast users in South Africa by 2024.  By working together, both radio and podcasts have the ability to transform the audio landscape even further. I have a particular love for podcasting, and thoroughly enjoy being a guest on insightful shows like The DOC and the GURU. From a content creators perspective, podcasting is fun, engaging and relatively uncomplicated to get going with. Done well, it can be alluring to listeners in the same way radio has always been. It will also be big business in the future.

A view towards the year ahead

It’s safe to say that 2022 will see more players entering an already competitive audio landscape. On top of new apps entering the market, streaming platforms like Spotify are gunning for radio listeners in a big way. The Swedish powerhouse has already launched its own morning show that is free to listen anytime from 7am on weekdays. It differentiates itself from traditional radio by (1) letting the listener consume the content on their own time, (2) by allowing them to skip stories they aren’t interested in, and (3) by playing music specifically curated to the individual.

Online audio is only going to continue to explode during the course of this year. More people are going to open their own stations, dabble with podcasting and explore new ways of finding niche audiences. Radio has got to do what it can to get ahead of it, or to collaborate with the platforms in a mutually beneficial way.

By having the training, skill and expertise to create better products than the average teenager in their bedroom, the industry does have a leg up in many ways. How it uses that to satisfy the ever changing habits and needs of audiences begs to be seen this year.

Who else is ready to give it their best shot?

Dave Tiltmann is group chief executive officer of African Media Entertainment.

Mon, 02 Aug 2021 / Published in LATEST NEWS, Podcasting, United Stations

The audio media ecosystem continues to evolve at a faster pace than anticipated.  The shift from consuming audio on traditional platforms to streaming platforms seem to be the driving force in accelerating the evolution of the audio landscape.

Some of the findings by The Infinite Dial report measuring online digital audio listening revealed that 44% of South Africansstreamed their favourite radio station.  The latest share-of-ear report from Edison Research in the US, revealed a time spent listening on a mobile device of 30% for those aged 13 years and older.

AMASA Joburg has put together a seasoned panel of experts in the field of audio media to unpack the latest trends in this industry.  

THOUGHT IGNITERS (PANNEL MEMBERS):

  • CHRIS BORIAN  (Head of Digital & GM – United Stations)
  • MUHAMMAD CAJEE (Chief Digital Officer- Primedia Broadcast)
  • JON SAVAGE (CEO – Inbroadcast)
  • MACG – SA’s Podcaster (Podcast and Chill)

REGISTER HERE: https://forms.gle/VZBRAM9PfpaDm2eZ7

Mon, 28 Jun 2021 / Published in LATEST NEWS, Podcasting

Written by Chris Borain ( Head of Digital: United Stations)

AUDIO STREAM – the live stream of radio station programming via the station’s website, iono.fm or other streaming platforms

In 2019, The Infinite Dial report measured online digital audio listening and found that 44% of South Africans listened to radio on a non-radio device*.

In other words, 44% of South Africans streamed their favourite radio station at home as opposed to listening on a traditional terrestrial radio. With the high (88%) smart phone penetration in South Africa, it’s no wonder the mobile phone is the device of choice when it comes to audio streaming. The digital audio audience is also diverse, with a 50/50 gender split and 71% under the age of 54.

Significant is that this research was done before the world turned upside down with the Covid19 pandemic.

2020 proved to be a watershed year for audio streaming in South Africa, with no signs that the trend is slowing down in 2021. United Stations saw its available streaming audience grow by 100% to 1million streams per month across its network of radio stations and websites since the start of the pandemic.

In line with the growth seen in local digital audio, United Stations bolstered its offering by concluding an agreement to be the exclusive local commercial partner for Wondery – the world’s largest independent podcast producer. Wondery’s expertise in maximizing ROI and innovation in digital audio along with the breadth of their South African audience, added another dimension to the US network.

In traditional radio, marketers can only roll out blanket campaigns – with limited ability to target specific demographics. With online streaming however, marketers can now measure and target ads in the audio domain. Combined with a DMP (Data Management Platform), proprietary first party data is used to build a targeted digital audio campaign. To be blunt, for the first time a traditional 30 second radio spot can now be used to target the right audience, at the right time, in the right place.

The obvious benefits advertisers get with the inclusion of digital audio ads in their strategies are stunning engagement and listen-through rates.

Because linear digital audio ads are not easily skippable – digital audio is not subject to the “five second skip” phase of digital video ads –  the brand enjoys the full attention of the audience. Nielsen Media Lab claims audio ads have a 24% higher recall rate than traditional display ads.

In spite of the pandemic, digital advertising grew by 18% in 2020, as opposed to a 27% reduction in the total advertising market. (IAB-SA Internet Advertising Report 2020)

Now is the ideal time to use your brands digital budget to bolster the performance of your traditional radio campaign with a targeted digital campaign.

The best opportunities in targeted digital audio.

United Stations mix of local podcasts, live audio streams and our catch-up radio offering, are now boosted with podcasts from Wondery, the world’s largest independent podcast producer

Our comprehensive network delivers cost-effective, targeted solutions to increase the ROI of any radio advertising campaign.

Mon, 15 Mar 2021 / Published in LATEST NEWS, OFM

 While it is hard to absorb any learnings from the year that was 2020, any chance to learn something should be met with an open mind if we are to unlock any opportunity for the future. While 2020 was simply dubbed ‘stifling’, there was a silver lining amidst the dark cloud of COVID-19 for media and, most especially, for radio. 

So, what did we learn? 

We learned that while everything was falling apart and credible news was hard to come by, among its audience, OFM was one of the few brands that could be relied upon for accurate and credible information related to the Coronavirus. 

We learned that, in general, radio listening was up by 30% (Kantar) by May 2020 and that 71% of Central South Africans listened to more radio than usual, during the then lockdown, across all of OFM’s available platforms – radio, mobile and desktop apps. 

 The absence the BRC (Broadcast Research Council of South Africa) RAMS (Radio Audience Measure) meant that OFM had to further inform itself about its audience and media consumption habits. The last reading pinned OFM’s 7-day cume at 315 000 listeners. BrandMapp (who independently track economically active South African’s online activity) pinned OFM’s listenership at 479 000. Thus, while the pandemic had a limiting effect overall, this forced the brand’s hand to be more insights-driven than ever before. These independent research studies and insights paved the way for more agile products that met a demand that otherwise would have not necessarily have been discovered, such as OFM LIVE LINK and BrandMAX. 

But radio is more than an extended aerial with a tuner and speaker. The modern age has given radio the opportunity to expand and meet its audience in cyberspace. 

OFM spent much of the last three years aggressively investing in and developing adjacent offerings, like various digital platforms, including social media, desktop and mobile apps, as well as a revamped website and streaming service, OFM Stasie2. OFM’s online users have increased almost 2% year on year to 1.745-million online users by December 2020 and a further 260 000 unique online streams. All of the above excludes the ambitious podcasting planned for 2021, which includes an association with leading podcast publisher – Wondery. 

What does this all mean? 

OFM is creating an ecosystem. A place where the brand and listeners can find and access each other across various and different platforms. Discoveries fast-tracked by the Coronavirus. 

So, what do we know now? 

We know that in 2021, OFM listeners indicated that they are likely to listen to more radio, and streamed audio services, than they did in 2020. Of the little over 1 100 respondents: 

  • 54% of OFM listeners indicated that they are likely to consume more radio;
  • 65% indicated that they already listen to more radio between 06:00 and 09:00 and that many kept their radio tuned onto OFM from 6am, in the car, at home and at work. An insight, revealed time and time again from the BRC RAMs, is that OFM has one of the highest instances of time spent listening over 7 days – 20.97 hours;
  • and 16% indicated that they are likely to consume more streamed audio offerings. 

“The study indicates the absolute strength of radio and audio consumption, listener engagement, and the loyalty OFM listeners have toward OFM. In 2021, OFM turn 35 years young and the station can be proud that radio and audio consumption is getting stronger,” – Nick Efstathiou, CEO of the Central Media Group, holding company of OFM. 

This translates to the absolute value of audio. Where there is engagement, there is a prospective solution, and radio sits at the table of this digital revolution. Audio remains inescapable and OFM intends to build on the legacy of its last 35 years in audio. 

For more info, please contact Lindiwe Mtwentula on 051 5050 900, 082 416 1665, or lindiwe@ofm.co.za.