Radio Advertising in a Slow Down

The latest Bellwether Survey makes pretty depressing reading for those in the advertising and media industries as the Guardian reports… “Business confidence among UK marketing execs has slumped to its lowest level in three years, as wary companies cut spending on TV, press and radio advertising in favour of price discounting and the internet.”

The top line findings from the report don’t sound great but dig a little deeper and there is a positive or two… 20% of companies increased their advertising budgets in the last three months of 2011, and, according to initial reports firms are looking to raise their 2012 budgets compared to last year.

As published in the Guardian, Nicola Mendelsohn, president of the IPA (who jointly produced the report), said… “It is encouraging that firms are still planning to increase their budgets in 2012,” said Mendelsohn. “Moreover the impact of key sporting events such as the London 2012 Games and the Euro football championships will likely lead to increased buoyancy in the marketplace with a corresponding boost in marketing expenditure.”

Where does this leave Radio?

The Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) has carried out a number of research projects to look into how ‘Radio Ads Bite’ to marketing campaigns and this has provide us with some very positive findings:

  • Taking 10% of a TV campaigns budget and placing it on Radio can increase overall ad awareness by 15% (The Awareness Multiplier, Millward Brown)
  • Moving 50% of press ads onto the Radio can increase unaided brand recall threefold (RAEL – The benefits of synergy)
  • Moving 50% of internet ads onto the Radio can increase unaided brand recall four-fold (RAEL – The benefits of synergy)
  • When people are exposed to radio within the search process (i.e. listening online) Brand Name search increases by 350% (Word of Mouse, Uni of Lancaster)
  • Taking 10% of a media budget and placing it on Radio can boost brand browsing online by 52% (The Online Multiplier, Other lines of enquiry / Dolly Wagon)

When times are tight Radio Advertising can make budgets work harder! As the above research from the RAB shows radio can deliver in terms of Direct Response, Awareness and Brand Positioning.

Closer to home, at RadioWorks, we have seen an upward surge in advertisers looking to use radio and digital audio. Tools, such as the unsold inventory reverse auction site – Bid4Spots, and the growth of digital audio opportunities including: Spotify, We7, UK RadioPlayer, and Absolute’s InStream, have been a real draw for advertisers more cautious with their budgets.

If you’d like to find out how Radio can work for you then please feel free contact me at RadioWorks on 0207 90 70 6 70.

All the best



The House of Reeves

After the events of last year’s riots RadioWorks wanted to help out one of London’s worst effected business, the House of Reeves. Thanks to the generosity of radio stations including LBC, Radio Jackie, talkSPORT, Premier, Absolute and Smooth – RadioWorks were able to secure free of charge airtime. Their message, created by Maple Street Studio’s, was a simple one… We’re still open.

Today, I travelled down to Croydon with RadioWorks founder and CEO Michael Charnley-Heaton to visit Trevor Reeves and the business. We can report back that despite the tough economic situation the business is still going strong and selling a great range of furniture. We wish them all the best for the future.

Absolute Radio: Redefining Radio

Had a very interesting morning today thanks to Absolute Radio who invited me and a few RadioWorks colleagues along to their Redefining Radio conference at Portcullis House, just across the road from the countries seat of power. Speakers for the event included Ed Vaizey, the Minister for Culture, Communications & Creative Industries, Karla Geci from Facebook, the BBC’s Tim Davie, Rohan Oomen from Xbox Live and Absolute Radio’s Clive Dickens, James Wigley, Geoff Lloyd and Dave Gorman.

If you don’t have time to read this full post skip to my summary at the bottom 🙂

The general message from all the speakers was that of positivity – radio listening is still growing and currently reaches 91% of the UK population was a stat rolled out by at least three of the speakers. Ed Vaizey told us how neither video or technology killed the Radio star, despite many predictions of its demise. Whilst Clive Dickens reminded us of how non-traditional radio is growing and commented on the changes the internet is having on the medium.

It seems to me that the World Wide Web really is ‘wide’ and can offer plenty of opportunities for Radio Output (or should that be Audio?). Radio stations are already making good use of Facebook in terms of listener interaction and services like Spotify and the UK RadioPlayer are telling all our friends what we’re listening to.

One of radio’s strengths is the sense of community that comes from being a listener. It is this sense of community that Xbox Live has developed with its users and what Facebook thrives off of. The challenge for radio, as defined by Absolute, is ‘Broadcasting one to many (to their community) whilst advertising one to one’. The answer? Well, according to Clive Dickens and James Wigley from Absolute, the answer is in-stream advertising. Encouraging listeners to sign up to an Absolute Radio account provides the station with rich listener data while the listener benefits from additional services and less, more relevant messages. RadioWorks are currently testing the in-stream advertising with one of our clients so if you’re interested in further information please contact us.

For me the best speaker of the morning was the BBC’s Director of Audio and Music, Tim Davie. Tim echoed the message of positivity around radio and mentioned that ‘listeners relationship with radio is the strongest of any media’. For further growth in the radio sector Tim pointed us towards improved creativity and innovations via partnerships – with the UK Radio Player cited as a good example of how this has worked in recent times.

The conference was wrapped up by writer, broadcaster and general funny man Dave Gorman who made two great points…

  1. A conversation is an interaction between two people, it doesn’t matter if it’s through twitter or across the airways – engaging with your audience / your community and speaking with them is what works
  2. People don’t care how they are listening (if it’s via the web, mobile, or AM) what they care about is that they are listening at all – and enjoying it (hopefully)

If you want to hear a great conversation in action I can definitely recommend his radio show, Sunday’s from 10am on Absolute Radio

So, in summary what have I taken away from this morning’s conference?

  • Radio is currently in a very strong position and has continued to grow despite the rise of new technologies
  • Radio needs to constantly adapt in order to have continued success – embracing creativity and technological developments whilst providing more targeted advertising opportunities
  • Radio needs to remember its core strengths and not lose sight of where it’s come from. Retain the sense of community, engage with the audience and keep them entertained.

Thanks for your time.


PS > More information and twitter feed from today’s conference can be found on Absolute Radio’s blog

Gutted to see you go

The lovely Charlotte Plant is leaving Global Radio next week and heading off on her travels. Charlotte has been the Account Manager on the business for the last three years, helping us book campaigns on to the Global Radio group of stations as well as plying the media team with alcohol. Let’s hope Laura Pearce (no relation) is just as good 🙂

Good luck on your travels Charlotte!


What is ‘Digital Radio’?

Everyone’s talking about it but what do we mean by the term Digital Radio?

For the most part, when people are referring to Digital Radio they are talking about DAB Digital Radio. However, from the Radio Audience Listening figures (RAJAR) point of view Digital Radio consists of a number of different Digital Platforms. Below, I take a look at the break down of the Digital Radio listening figures…

Digital Radio listening, across all platforms, currently (RAJAR Q3 2011) achieves a weekly share of 28.2% and a weekly reach of 43.9%

DAB Radio – These are the actual digital set receivers, 39.4% of adults claim to have a DAB at home. DAB listening equates to a 18% share of all listening hours but also achieves 26.8% share of all weekly reach.

Digital TV (DTV) – There are many stations (mostly Bauer Passion Portfolio) available via DTV, they can be found towards the end of the Freeview programme guide. DTV listening is 4.7% share and 14.3% reach

Internet listening – The new industry initiative, Radio Player, has helped increase the online listening of radio stations and recently announced over 6 million unique users in a month. As a single station Absolute Radio lead the way in online listening. Internet listening has a 3.7% share and a weekly reach of 10.4%

Smartphones – 85% of stations have a smartphone application and recent data shows that 2.2 million people have downloaded a radio application. Unfortunately listening via smartphones is not specifically measured by RAJAR, however, respondents are asked if they have ever listened to radio via a mobile phone, to which 15.8% of Adults and 32.4% of 15-24s have responded positively.

Some more Digital facts

  • There are 13 National stations available on DAB
  • There are 150 radio services on DAB (note: a lot of these services which are replicated across more than one area, such as Kiss being available in Scotland as well as London, etc)
  • 32% of adults have now listened to the radio via the web (ever)
  • Podcasts can also come under the ‘digital’ remit and 8.1 million people claim to have downloaded a podcast
  • Games consoles which are connected to the net are giving listeners access to Internet Radio

For further information on Digital Radio Advertising why not contact the specialists at

(Source: RAJAR Q3 2011)