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Digital Audio Advertising:  The Next Big Thing for Media Owners?

Neil Webster | Industry Analysis | 1st September 2020
Digital Audio Advertising:  The Next Big Thing for Media Owners?

Commercial radio started in the United States nearly a century ago.  Since KDKA launched in November 1920, radio has broadcast historic world events, made music hugely popular, allowed people to be “at” world sporting events, and has relayed news, sport, plays and drama and has literally become the soundtrack to people’s lives globally and is the world’s most popular medium.

As radio has proliferated, radio advertising has also grown dramatically and in 2019 was worth nearly $35 billion based on a tried and tested formula helping businesses (and unfortunately in some markets, politicians) to communicate their brand message in a tried and trusted environment.   Audience monetisation through radio (and now audio advertising) has constantly adapted and seized advantage of technological change...and shows no signs of stopping with podcasting now forecast to break through the $1 billion annual revenue barrier in 2020.  

 

Read Also: Podcasts as Revenue Generators: Silver Bullet or Red Herring?

As well as traditional FM/AM/DAB radio, audio content is increasingly delivered in crystal clear quality through smartphone apps, audio platforms, smart speakers, connected TVs and audio players - available to anyone across the globe on a simple voice command. These technological developments,  together with vast numbers of  web only radio stations, podcasts, and audio streams, have created a vast choice for listeners. From the “Always Christmas” station (Radio Canada Online) to daily news podcasts, or kids-only podcasts,  there really is something for every consumer.

Click to Tweet: Digital audio is giving media owners the opportunity to repackage and repurpose content and to take their brands to new audiences. This will help develop new streams of monetisation alongside existing revenue streams and help secure the future for these businesses in a truly multimedia way. 

Increasingly, iconic media owners with history and tremendous success in other sectors are successfully developing audio output.  The New York Times “The Daily” is the most popular podcast in the world, companies such as Bauer Media have smart speaker “skills” and apps for all of their audio content and increasingly publishers are developing content based on their print brands as well as radio. The Times in London, part of News UK and one of the world’s largest and most influential news brands, has recently launched “Times Radio," 235 years after launching the print edition. 

These brand extensions are giving media owners the opportunity to repackage and repurpose content and to take their brands to new audiences. This will help develop new streams of monetisation alongside existing revenue streams and help secure the future for these businesses in a truly multimedia way. 

Monetisation opportunities from multichannel packages

As the media landscape has  become ever more complex, media owners are developing ways for brands to monetize their audio output.  Traditional examples developed from radio include sponsorship, partnerships, in situ ad scheduling and  pre-roll ads across each audio platform of audio streams alongside other digital, print and events revenues.   Having had a slow start, could the next massive growth spurt in digital revenues be in digital audio? 

The game is about to change and accelerate once again as Google have recently announced an initiative to help publishers manage digital audio content via Google Ad Manager.  Features will include ad insertion into audio content and programmatic monetisation of content.  This will mean better targeting, a better and more relevant ad experience for listeners and the opportunity for media owners and access to untapped revenues as advertisers choose to place their audio ad content to reach specific audiences. 

Many media owners have created packages of their inventory such as print and digital packages encouraging upsell and greater campaign reach.   As audio advertising evolves, we see the emergence of packages to include audio advertising and revenues from audio will becoming an even bigger proportion of revenues.  

Tools for leveraging this trend

Adpoint from Lineup systems is the world’s leading multimedia sales system that allows media owners to manage and get a single view of revenues across each platform whether it be print, digital, audio, broadcast or events.  The company helps over 80 media companies globally to manage media sales to ensure revenues are maximised, and critically, that focus stays on profitability and effective inventory utilisation.   Google Ad Manager is natively integrated in Adpoint with many of our customers.  

 

To paraphrase Peter Drucker, the eminent 20th century management guru, “The best way to predict the future is to create it." And traditional media owners are rapidly creating a future with their innovations in the audio space. 

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