SCA says DAB+ stations have helped it weather ratings turbulence

Former Editor & Content Director

Southern Cross Austereo’s (SCA) Hit and Triple M-branded DAB+ stations have helped the audio company continue to charge advertisers premium rates despite ratings fluctuations on its FM stations.

The digital radio brands have “help[ed] take some pressure off the FM part of the business”, Adam Williscroft, content director for Hit and Triple M Digital Radio revealed on a webinar this week.

He said while other radio networks may have had to drop their advertising rates – due to ratings uncertainty or the flock to AM and talk-based stations throughout COVID-19 – SCA’s transformed sales strategy meant it could hold its ground.

“Brand extension has certainly helped SCA to remain competitive when it comes to audience reach throughout the survey year,” he said.

“The aggregated audience has allowed us to potentially in some instances maintain a certain rate. Other radio networks may have had to reduce their rates in a similar situation, where we’ve been given a bit of a chance to hold, that buffer has given us a chance to hold that rate at times.”

He said the Hit and Triple M-branded DAB+ stations “were designed to be brand-safe options, but to also complement the parent FM brand”.

“It allowed us to bundle that unduplicated audience if you like across all of our broadcast assets on both FM networks, and this suite of DAB stations, and at the same time, trying to offer that scale to clients by duplicating all of the local inventory that was going on our FM stations,” he said.

Willscroft said the brand stacks of his DAB+ stations was a more effective strategy than that which SCA had experimented with in the past.

“Look, initially we have experimented with several standalone brands – not only do you have the challenge of ratings with smaller or unfamiliar brands, but there is the overall challenge of monetising smaller brands as well, implementing a successful sales strategy, for example, or resourcing that sales team as well.

SCA says its investment in DAB+ has paid off 

“It’s very challenging to sell a one-off DAB station with the same sales team who’s perhaps used to selling a high-rating FM station, for example, without totally changing the way that you do business to ensure that that can happen. It’s hard work. It’s not necessarily cost effective to do that either,” he said of SCA’s previous approach.

SCA’s national head of sales, Nikki Rooke, also promoted SCA’s acceleration in the digital space at last week’s Mumbrella Audioland conference.

She noted that COVID-19 had accelerated networks’ and audiences’ digital migration “which is brilliant”.

“All of the richness of radio is still there – the scale and the reach, combined with the amazing contextual environments like sport, comedy, music. But now with the added layer of targeted reach, which we’re able to achieve through all of our digital assets, as well as all the richness of context that podcasting brings to it, with the ability to now overlay attribution modelling, far more richer, deeper testing and results, the quality of reporting we’re able to provide now as a digital publisher that was never available with liner broadcast, just means that everything that’s always worked for brands and advertisers for radio, can now be executed in a much more richer and more meaningful way across multiple assets,” she said.

“And of course what’s exciting for us going from linear to digital is the targeting capabilities that that brings. And we’re seeing increased demand from the market to buy more of that, which is really exciting.”

CEO of Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), Joan Warner, also spruiked DAB+’s potential on this week’s webinar.

She said Australian radio networks are seeing the commercial benefits of promoting DAB alongside their traditional audio channels.

SCA’s DAB+ footprint by city

“DAB stations provide as I said new advertising opportunities by building on analogue radio’s mass audience and giving advertisers a more comprehensive, nuanced and targeted audio solution, and it gives you the opportunity to access niche and special-interest audiences.

“Advertisers can take advantage of integrated stacked buying opportunities, getting more value for their money and increasing the reach of their messaging. It’s an affordable and simple solution for advertisers navigating these days with restricted advertising budgets,” she said.

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Makes no sense?
23 Oct 2020 - 11:57 pm

They’re the only radio network still claiming Job Keeper because their revenue is so down – so how exactly have their DAB stations helped them weather the ratings downturn better than other networks?

Don't sell the salespeople
25 Oct 2020 - 9:16 am

Did anyone verify these claims?

I have seen schedule after schedule where rates were lower than the prices at Master’s.

Briefs from agencies saying “please don’t include DAB+ to inflate your numbers”.

Seems like a bit of spin to stop the share price heading back to 15 cents.

25 Oct 2020 - 7:39 pm

It’s almost 2021 and still no DAB on the Gold Coast or southern suburbs of Brisbane.

26 Oct 2020 - 9:55 am

When all else fails play around with figures and digital radio audiences.

The Wolf
26 Oct 2020 - 11:30 am

Is Digital Radio Surveyed or is it just make up your Own Numbers .


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