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From the RAB: B'dcasters share theories on developing, selling online content

Posted on: 02/13/2008

From Radio & Records: Digital executives from three of radio’s largest owners offered upbeat assessments of radio’s opportunity on the exploding online landscape in an opening-day session at the RAB’s annual conference here Feb. 11.

Broadcasters are eager to expand their piece of the $8 billion local online ad pie, the fastest growing segment in the interactive ad market. “I don’t know why everyone is so gloomy. I think this is the best opportunity we’ve ever had,” said Emmis Interactive VP of integrated sales Deb Esayian, who moderated the “How to Cross the Digital Divide (Part 1)” session…

Entercom senior VP of digital Sandy Smallens… urged attendees to simplify the ad-buying process and learn the lingo digital media buyers use: “If buying your digital assets is more difficult than buying your spots, you have a problem. Learn the language and ways of digital media and attend a conference or two that doesn’t have radio in its title.”..

Give the people what they want, Smallens [pictured left] said… If your PD can’t articulate three reasons why P1 listeners would go to your Web site, other than to stream the station or enter a contest, then “you’re in trouble,” he added…

Radio’s digital initiatives have come of age… (CBS Radio’s digital media group director of sales development Mike) Aronow said, underscoring his point by projecting on an overhead display screen grabs from smart, savvy sites such as that for alternative WXRK (K-Rock)/New York, which offers video on demand, animation, a studio camera and other interactive elements… “PDs are going to be expected to increase Web traffic just as they are expected to improve or maintain ratings.”

Andy Lipset, managing partner for Ronning Lipset Radio, an ad agency that specializes in pure-play online broadcasters such as AOL and Yahoo… said the attraction of Internet radio** to ad buyers is that it has the “power of radio combined with the accountability of online metrics.” What’s more, Web radio is “the soundtrack for online buying and shopping.”

Read this entire R&R article online here.

From Radio Ink: Gordon Borrell [pictured right], CEO of research and consulting firm Borrell Associates, led off Tuesday’s “How to Cross the Digital Divide” [Part II] panel at RAB 2008 by saying, “We’re in a very interesting time.”

Borrell pointed to the $8.3 billion spent on local Internet advertising last year, projected to rise to $12.5 billion this year, and said that one of the “key characteristics” of the most successful websites in Borrell Associates’ annual revenue survey — including radio, TV, Yellow Pages, newspaper and other sites — is that “They all have a former radio salesperson on their sales staffs, selling Internet advertising”

Among the approaches Journal has taken, (Journal Broadcast Group Director/Interactive Media Sales Jeff Kuether) said, is to add more original content to websites “because there’s a straight-line correlation between content and views.” Each station has an interactive committee, led by the GM, overseeing its website, and radio reps are concentrating on becoming “media reps.”

But Keuther said Journal really began to see success when it started to recruit specialists in interactive. He said, “If you can find a person, as we have in certain markets, who has the interactive sales skills and the marketing chops, as well as a little bit of technical knowledge, that’s the time to run, don’t walk, to HR to get that person hired”…

[Journal Broadcast Group Interactive Account Manager Stacey] Blasiola also recommended that stations move into online video, saying, “Video loves the radio star, and the radio star loves video.” And it’s a lot easier than it sounds, she said, with free editing programs and inexpensive cameras available…

Cox Radio/Atlanta Internet Sales Manager Mike Paterson… is concerned about the approach he sees some sellers taking. “Are we, as an industry, teaching the value of the stream?” he said. “Or are we just bundling up for the client to get the deal done?” It’s more difficult to sell digital, he said “when competitors are just throwing it in, and devaluing it along the way.”

Read the entire story here.

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