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Radios Opportunity Not Shazams


Last week it was announced that Shazam has partnered with Mindshare and their holding company WPP to create Audio+, an audio identification service for advertisers powered by Shazams current song recognition technology. The goal of the partnership is to provide WPP advertisers real time insights into listener engagement, behavior and the ROI against their broadcast radio spend.  At first glance this may not seem like a big deal, but radio needs to understand what this really means and where it will go.  For starters, what should be obvious to radio is that this partnership is a crystal clear statement that major agencies and their clients want insights into listeners engagement/behaviors and ROI from broadcast radio. It also means that agencies like Mindshare/WPP still believe deeply in the power of radio, but need data on listener engagement and campaign effectiveness the same way they demand it from digital media like search, display and email.

Clearly Shazam sees an opportunity that radio broadcasters are missing. This is the opportunity to bring engagements tied to on-air campaigns to national and local broadcast.  Shazam knows that data on consumer response is very valuable, as they have been doing this with TV and the music labels for some time.  Knowing exactly who, what, where and when a listener engages with advertising or music is incredibly valuable.  Radio should enable its own listener interaction with music and advertising, while capturing all the rich consumer data that is driven by their curated content and coming from their loyal listeners for themselves.  And radio should have access to the massive revenue opportunities that are generated from mobile engagement and performance based advertising that (ACR) Audio Content Recognition technology enables.  

This partnership and others like it are going to happen. Listeners will be able to use their mobile device, the thing they hold closest to them, on a daily basis to interact with content heard on the radio.  So when broadcast radio spots air listeners can with a single tap of their mobile device receive matching content from the advertiser. This same type of action is executed in the digital space (be it search, email or display) and returns revenue to the provider that enabled the interaction.  The question that needs to be answered is will Radio step up to the plate and take hold of their audience and the potential mobile revenue tied to the audio they deliver every day. If they dont, Shazam will. Radio has a huge opportunity here to increase its relevance in a mobile world, while reaping the increased revenues they so deserve and take credit for those results. Radio needs to showcase to the media community that it deserves its cut of the action on the engagements they have been driving up to this point that are given up to search.

To stay in the game, broadcasters should be putting white label ACR technology into all of their station broadcasts, making it a simple, basic fundamental of radio.  Radio already has a massive listener base, the promotional loud speakers and the local advertisers to do this now.  Why wait 10 more years for IP listener adoption to create meaningful revenue levels for terrestrial streamed radio? And obviously the broadcast remains free of royalties and bandwidth costs.

Radio can adopt its own interactive broadcast solution to take the lead in providing this capability to listeners, advertisers, and agencies.  Broadcast radio needs to put a stake in the ground for itself and say radio will now deliver interactivity and rich listener data, which not only proves radios long standing value, but empowers radio to make a play for advertisers far outside of the diminished $15 billion radio pool.  With 90% of radio listenership still coming from the broadcast, the future is now by enabling that 90% to be richly interactive, providing data on listener behavior and engagement.  Radios native element has always been the local content coming through the speakers. Its now time for radio to stand up and lead with their core asset by applying ACR technology as their own initiative, rather then let someone else do it around them.

Audio Content Recognition technology is the way to harness the power of radios core asset and re-energize broadcast radio to grow and compete aggressively in the digital marketplace.   My hope is that radio sees this opportunity quickly before others like Shazam do it without them.

Bill Freund
EVP/Chief Revenue Officer
Clip Interactive

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