‘Old’ mediums like radio still deserve a place at the table alongside OTT.
A view from Mark Moreau, Partner, SRi.
Life in the content, media, and entertainment space is anything but certain at the moment. Technology is swirling and changing tack faster than most can keep up. OTT. AR. VR. All hailed as life-altering propositions.
Content strategies and subscription models are too numerous to count. IGTV. YouTube. Netflix rumoured to be considering trialling these weird things that might play between boxset episodes but are definitely NOT called ads. Consumers having to subscribe to multiple platforms individually to watch their favourite team or sport. Facebook simultaneously the home of all of the people you’d rather not see or speak to anymore, your embarrassing childhood photos, and exciting free to view sporting events of the highest calibre. Newspaper circulation figures that really shouldn’t be discussed until after 9pm after the kids have gone to bed.
Anyone willing to make predictions about the future should be taken with as much salt as you can lay your hands on.
What is sure, however, is that everything must be new. The old ways, we’re told, are finished already. Or at least they’re extinct in the wild and grimly holding on to a few sparse populations in captivity with no chance of survival.
Yet, one of the most memorable and widely shared pieces of content in the UK for quite some time emerged yesterday – on radio.
This ‘outdated medium’, in the UK at least, continues to buck the trend and is holding firm against the tide of change that should have wiped it off of the airways long ago. Radio has survived the introduction of TV, colour TV, Cable, Satellite, 3G, 4G and judging by the newspapers circulation figures will almost certainly outlive daily newspapers. Radio will likely outlast AR, VR and OTT too.
The piece of content wasn’t the brainchild of some group of incredibly clever people at an agency. It was a simple letter from a listener. Sent into the BBC team at Test Match Special – the cricket institution that has provided full commentary of England matches since 1957 – the listener wrote to tell the presenters about his father’s life, his lifelong connection to ‘TMS’ and how the radio programme had played a significant in his father’s final days.
I suspect there weren’t too many dry eyes when this letter was finished being read out.
Asking around SRi HQ practically everyone had heard, seen or read about it – even people who loathe cricket and aren’t sporty at all. Some had heard it live on the radio. Some saw it on Twitter with subtitles. Others on Facebook. Some read it about it without audio or video. ‘Viral’? absolutely.
The takeaway here isn’t to be sure you’ve got multiple distribution channels ready to take your content to the masses regardless of how they consume it – though that’s important of course.
The takeaway should be that while many are sprinting into a future full of ‘new’, there are ‘outdated’ mediums that still can make profound, direct and emotional connections with consumers on a one-to-one basis. The holy grail for marketers.
Old and new can co-exist. We must be careful not to ignore ‘old’ for the sake of ‘new’.
Mark Moreau is a Partner at SRi and is focused on finding transformational senior executive talent that sits at the intersection of Sports, Media, Entertainment and Technology.
For a market overview of your company or for a confidential discussion, contact Mark directly by email here, on +44 (0) 7826 555 550 or on +44 (0)207 092 6963.