RAIN 5/18: Gordon Borrell rankled by radio's "squandered" digital opportunities

Michael Schmitt
May 18, 2012 - 11:00am

Borrell Associates data"I'm kind of pissed off," began Borrell Associates Founder/CEO Gordon Borrell on-stage at RAIN Summit West 2012. He was thinking about "all the things radio could be doing with the Internet," yet are "being squandered."

On the one hand, Borrell explained during his POV ("Point of View") presentation, radio has the "second-largest sales force out there... a local sales force of 80,000." Yet it has the fifth-largest sales force for digital. "Why is that?"

Meanwhile, said Borrell, "advertisers are desperate for a digital education." And they're looking to their traditional sellers for answers and help. Yet "radio hasn't really significantly trained its sales force" for digital opportunities, argued Borrell. And there are plenty of digital opportunities for radio.

He showed that radio listeners are 48% more likely than the average U.S. consumer to use a PC, laptop or mobile device. And exposure to radio boosts brand browsing online by 52%. "We've seen this for 5-6 years now," Borrell said. "Radio does a better job at driving Internet traffic than the Internet itself."

Gordon Borrell

Some station clusters are already taking advantage of these opportunities and making millions on digital advertising, showed Borrell. But, as an industry, radio's digital advertising share is "puny" -- the second-smallest share of U.S. digital ad dollars. That said, radio's digital ad revenues are expected to grow 35% this year.

But Borrell encouraged radio to do more, to follow the example of leading station clusters, to train sales forces to show advertisers what they can do with digital. "Radio sales forces could be the perfect solution," said Borrell, "if they were trained properly."

You can watch Borrell's POV -- and nearly every other presentation and panel from RAIN Summit West 2012 -- from RTT News here.

Paul Maloney
May 18, 2012 - 11:00am

You're likely well aware that today is Facebook IPO day. While that's mostly outside our coverage area, we did want to pass along this cool interactive graphic from The New York Times (please click through to see it in action).

It really puts into perspective the massive scale of Facebook's valuation (compared even to Google, Groupon, etc.).

See the graphic in action here.


Michael Schmitt
May 18, 2012 - 11:00am

iHeartRadio redesign

Clear Channel's iHeartRadio will unveil a site redesign on May 21. The update will aim to "get to saved stations faster," will offer an "enchaced discovery tuner," faster search and new navigation.

We'll have more coverage of the refresh when it's available next week. Stay tuned!

Paul Maloney
May 18, 2012 - 11:00am

Katz360 exec Dean Mandel takes to the blog today to suggest that the tried-and-true "GRP" (gross ratings point, or 1% of a market's population) is still very useful as a "common currency" in a multiplatform video and audio world.

Online display and search are purely "online" media (and thus it makes sense to use the more recently-developed digital metrics for them). But audio and video consumers can watch TV, listen to radio, watch on a tablet, or listen on a PC or mobile device, Mandel explains. Advertisers can reach a listener or a viewer on many different devices -- thus a common metric is helpful.

Mandel argues to use the newer digital-based metrics "to add value to the GRPs for the digital portion of a video or audio buy." A seller can "add any digital engagement metrics, completion rates, click through rates etc...to add value to their platform's GRP. Now the buyer can take that information and decide that these digital GRPs indeed have additional value because of these metrics."

Read Mandel's blog post here.