Grant Blackley reveals SCA’s plans for LiSTNR, including 35 new radio stations
Southern Cross Austero’s (SCA) ambitious growth plans for its LiSTNR platform have been revealed by its CEO Grant Blackley, including hopes it will be taken up by 15 million Australians aged over 18.
In addition to the lofty usage plans, Blackley revealed the platform will launch 35 new music-based radio stations, taking the total to 50, before the end of 2021.
Speaking to media last night, Blackley also highlighted its looming plans for talent-based announcements.
He noted its recent recruitment of Steve Price for the streamed radio show Australia Today may have been unexpected for what is effectively an entertainment radio group, but is the first of many moves in a similar vein – “he is the first, he certainly won’t be the last, is all I’ll say”.
The next 18 months, he said, will see a raft of announcements from LiSTNR, all talent-led.
He also reiterated previous hints that he has aspirations for LiSTNR to go global, taking a subtle dig at Australian Radio Network’s (ARN) iHeartRadio arrangement in the process.
“We built this product. We built it and we own it. We’re not Yahoo7, we’re not iHeart. We own the code. We can adapt the code. We can change the code tomorrow if we choose to. So if we see a behaviour or a change that will benefit us, no different to what Amazon does every single week, we can change that, and we can then modify that,” he said.
“And we think that’s to our advantage. It’s also something we own and can export. So if we ever wish to go beyond our shores into other territories and launch this product elsewhere, there is the freedom to be able to do it because we own the code.”
Ultimately, he said, he wants LiSTNR to be the “ultimate audio destination in Australia”, noting “we think it’s our right and our obligation to occupy this space in Australia”.
“The numbers are going through the roof. Our ambition is nothing short of being the single best audio destination in Australia. We are all Australian at this point in time…. And we know that that will consume and entice a lot of Australians into it. And then selectively, we will look globally for partners that we think will actually round out the offering and the audio needs of every Australian,” he said.
“So we want to not only build out our Australian offering, but then bring select, premium international partnerships to bear, where we can actually create a platform to promote, market and monetise their content on the way through.”
To do this effectively, he had to make sure LiSTNR was ready from the get-go, with a flawless launch, he said.
“We are absolutely thrilled with the performance of LiSTNR to date… We didn’t want to have an Optus moment, where in actual fact, you buy the rights, you launch, you fail, you throw it up again, you fail again. So, we knew it was going to work, of course, but we had to prove it. And we proved it when we launched.”