As befits someone with a global role
in a media agency, I spend a lot of time travelling. What I notice
at the airport is that almost everyone has now headphones. Most are
listening to the new radio digital platforms, usually via their
Widespread Wi-Fi, 3G networks and the
fact that more and more of us have smartphones are powering a
digital revolution that even threatens Apple's all-conquering
This additional listening is reflected in the data - Radio.de,
Germany's biggest digital radio platform, now has 2.5m app
downloads with half of all streams going to mobile devices.
Similarly 1911.de has attracted half a million downloads of its
football app - remarkable for a paid-for service.
In Germany, where traditional radio
has primarily been a regional medium predominantly used by
retailers, these are impressive figures. It may just be around
10-15% of the traditional audience but among the young and male
demographics in particular, reach is much, much higher.
So far, however, the opportunity
presented by this change in behaviour has been largely ignored by
The situation is more advanced in the
UK and the US - Spotify now has 10m listeners and 3m subscribers in
the US, for example - and digital radio presents great advantages
to advertisers in every country of the world.
For a start radio listening via
mobile, laptops and tablets comes with added data, it's possible to
learn more about the audience, location and handset, for example.
For some brands, musical selections may also be of interest in
helping to target messages at the right consumer.
The potential of this new form of
radio and the pure emotional power of music is clear from a recent
campaign for Subway in the US targeting Hispanic consumers.
Creating an online radio station as part of the Subway Artista
Frescos concert series enabled the brand to boost visits by 13%
among bilingual adults.
Radio in many advanced markets has
struggled as digital formats have secured advertiser cash at the
expense of both print and radio. The increasing penetration of the
new radio "stations" indicates that perhaps the time has come for
all of us to rethink what radio means and what it can do for
First published here on the Campaign Blog.