RDE ‘brands are important’
It would be fair to say that with 1300 delegates, 55 sessions and 100 speakers all representing 60 countries, the 2014 RadioDays Europe is one of, if not, the pre-eminent Radio Conferences in the world.
It has taken nearly 20 years to get there. In the 90’s it was the US NAB which was the main attraction on the radio calendar.
Now it is appropriate that Europe is where radio professionals come to get their fix of the current success stories and strategic thinking of the future of the Audio Entertainment media that is Radio.
Twenty years ago when I left Australia to work at 98fm in Dublin with fellow Aussie Jeff O’Brien it would be fair to say that colleagues would comment that I had left radio. Today, it is a dream of many young radio professionals to have a crack at the European radio markets.
The opening session of RDE is a good example of how differently European radio operate in so many different markets, with so many different languages. It’s SBS radio on a grander scale! Many languages, many cultures, many formats but one desire; to win more audience.
The opening session of RDE was titled “Radio’s Connected Future”.
Presenting were Helen Boaden (left), Director of Radio BBC, UK; Maryam Salehi, Managing Director NRJ, France; Jacqueline Smit, Radio CEO 538, Netherlands; and Cilla Benkö, Director Swedish Radio.
Four of Europe’s leading Radio CEOs speaking about change in the radio industry. This impressive line up of leaders show that the Radio business has never been shy to promote talent, whatever gender.
Their key messages were the importance of content and monetisation.
Jacqueline Smit, CEO of Radio 538, is the newest to radio having been in her post for 6 months. She came from Microsoft and when asked what she noticed most about the industry she spoke about the lack of data.
Not research data, which Australia and New Zealand have always been world leaders in, but macro data; “There are lots of opinions but when I ask where the data points are, there isn’t much”
She is talking mostly about deep data about behaviours on different platforms across different market segments.
Helen Boaden, Director of Radio for the BBC, spoke of the how the UK industry is keeping “aggregators” like Spotify and Last.fm at bay through quality content. Note how broadcast radio leaders are referring to the new music streaming services as “aggregators”.
Helen believes that PSB keeps the commercial operators honest and ensures commercial operators keep investing in content and talent to win audiences and therefore advertisers support.
Maryam Salehi, Managing Director NRJ, France, spoke about how the NRJ brand has helped radio operators build a successful global radio franchise.
It was a world class sales pitch that would make the guys at Harvey Norman proud. It was a great video presentation, but less about what delegates could learn, more about NRJ’s view of managing future market changes.
Ultimately the key learning came from Jacqueline Smit.
Succinctly she said managing the digital change to hear is about realising that radio is about Content and Monetisation. Mobile is key. Distribution follows content. Brands are important.
Dirk Anthony is at Radio Days Europe for Radio Today, Dirk is an internationally recognised radio consultant, and can be contacted here.