“We’ve seen an increase in the demand side from advertisers to :15s,” says Pallad. “The thing that makes them most of interest to agencies is that they’re adjacent to content rather than just a free-floating shorter length commercials.”
Meanwhile, in the last few days I witnessed an ongoing battle between a client PD and GM on commercial loads. A PPM analysis of this station clearly demonstrates that quarter hours with less than 12 or 13 minutes of non-commercial content lose audience to shared-cume competition with lower commercial loads/cleaner quarter hours in the same time periods.
Ironically, the same station just did some research and their listeners didn’t perceive the commercial load to be higher or lower on the two stations. Obviously, the GM felt triumphant at this news, seeming unsympathetic to the equally-obvious usage deficit being caused by minute-by-minute reality.
Earlier, I happened to be in a meeting where a savvy manager was bragging that their company holds the line on commercial unit limits with no exceptions ... until he was informed that his station has been oversold for the last few days and so the morning show had been running 18 commercial units per hour, 30% more than the agreed-upon limit.
Then, there’s a friend and client who gloats about the growth in his internet revenue, so we click to the cluster’s websites only to see more space on the home page for banner ads, flash video of a car dealer walking across the station image info, a dating service click through, help wanteds and half price special coupons to the point that it’s difficult to tell that this is a radio station’s internet presence.
It looks like the inside of a very busy coupon flier.
OK. Times have been pretty tough lately and on one hand we should all be grateful that there’s this kind of demand building right now, perhaps another sign that the recession is officially over and things, hopefully, are getting better.
On the other, as PPM and click-throughs clearly demonstrate which advertising messages engage and which ones enrage, it’s worth counting up our HD side channels, streaming media, mobile, unlimited potential page views, thinking instead of the power of commercial messages embedded in content (charging top dollar) and stop thinking of our inventory as "60 minutes per hour on FM."
New media has taken away all of the limitations so long as we create content which drives eyeballs and ears first.
Yes, nine of ten of your revenue dollars do still come from analog terrestial radio, but tomorrow’s growth is unlimited in its potential IF we focus less on selling spots and more on usage, monetizing, not commercial units. but talent/content which gets the value equation of entertaining and building an audience while driving them to every platform at your disposal.
The potential for places to put commercial messages is unlimited.
Which means that tomorrow’s problem isn’t holding the line on inventory and yield management, but a risk of the infinite commercial load driving average prices down to the point that media can’t afford to create the content users expect.
If we’re moving to more :15’s because it makes our medium more listenable, that’s great.
If it’s because we’re now selling units for 25% of the price we once did, and only staying even by having to sell four times the units we once did, we better recognize that we don’t have a financial plan for a growing business, we have a yard sale.