To cultivate young audiences, radio needs to advance new devices, cars and data
Want to reach Generation Z and Millennials? Be authentic, explore new technologies, and use as many platforms as possible. Seeking a better understanding of Gen Zers,at the Worldwide Radio Summit 2018 opening panel, Futuri Media CEO Daniel Anstandig surveyed top audio and technology industry executives. The top finding: To reach these influential consumers (Gen Zers are ages 6 to 23 years old and Millennials are 24 to 38 year olds), radio broadcasters need to adapt — and fast.
“We need to stop just thinking radio. At iHeart, we develop for everything so we are always where the consumer is,” said iHeartRadio President Darren Davis, per Twitter, where the #WWRS2018 hashtag helped spread some of the panel’s best insights.
“Don’t be afraid of Gen Z – they may not be consuming radio in a traditional way… But if you have great content, they’ll find it,” said Elevate Research Founder Nicole Bergen. “They consume content everywhere.”
In a joint study by the R&D lab they developed together, Futuri Media and the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications have learned Gen Zers use media in 8-second bites and juggle five screens at once! They get information from peers and Google, are tech-savvy, and heavy social media users. They start each day with mobile, and use radio to discover new music, connect with favorite DJs, and stay up on local news and events.
On podcasting, Alexa and streaming
Gen Zers don’t tune in on a broadcast schedule, but stream audio and podcasts on their time. To reach them, iHeartMedia stations offer both bite-sized, on-demand audio and full-length podcasts. It’s one way Davis said radio broadcasters can rethink distribution. “To them, radio is like an appliance, like a toaster,” Davis said. “We all need to stop thinking of ourselves as radio people. Our content goes so many more places than out of that one appliance.”
Think of next-gen tech as potential, not potholes. “Streaming is additive to radio. Alexa has brought radio back to the home,” noted Tim Clarke, Cox Media Group’s VP of Audience and Content for Radio. And while Nielsen ratings might stay flat, Clarke says streaming audiences were growing.
To serve up more on-demand content, Ben Cooper, Controller for BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio1Xtra, and BBC Asian Network, has said he wants to create a Netflix for radio. That way, Gen Zers stay connected, but on their terms. “For the radio industry, we have to make sure there are things they’re going to miss out on if they don’t listen,” Cooper said.
At the wheel
With Gen Zers relying on smartphones to access entertainment, in-car connectivity is critical. In fact, these young adults say they care more about their vehicle’s connectivity than make and model.
As carmakers innovate, if radio wants to maintain its position as the no. 1 in-car media, they need to pump out premium programming, says Scott Burnell, Ford’s Global Lead, Business Development & Partner Management. “When the vehicle becomes the ‘living room,’ autonomous cars, radio – more than ever – needs to create content people would consume while the auto is driving itself,” he said.
Along with heavy amounts of social media like Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram, Gen Zers are glued to YouTube for music, entertainment and even podcasts. Radio stations and talent should engage young adults on social channels, and do it with authenticity, another Gen Z priority. “What radio does brilliantly is connect people to a sense of community,” Cooper said. “If we can make content that makes you feel a part of a community, we will still be relevant in Gen Z’s life.”
Data, data, and more data
With podcast advertising expected to hit $500 million by 2020, per Bridge Ratings, brands are watching closely to see how Gen Zers embrace and use podcasts. That will likely bring new opportunities to radio stations too.
“There are more sophisticated ways to prove the value of radio now. [We can] show a buyer more sophisticated info than we’ve ever been able to, fueled by big data, to continue to prove radio plays an important role in their media mix,” Clarke said.
To help its clients meet Gen Z and Millennials’ demands and more, Futuri Media, a global leader in SaaS technology for broadcasters, offers multiple solutions:
– TopicPulse powers your broadcast with real-time insights into the stories your specific target audience is responding to now so you can talk about it on the air, on a blog and on social.
– Futuri’s POST system makes it simple for radio broadcasters to create and publish podcasts.
– The Futuri Ad Network offers flexible, turnkey options for broadcasters to monetize their digital content in streaming and podcasts.
– #engage boosts mobile and social activity with customized actions on mobile apps and social, including song alerts, and text, email and push notifications. Sync social posts with your playlists, and allow users to build playlists.
– Futuri Mobile creates custom apps with more than 50 features, including audio and video streaming, playlists, weather, push notifications and contesting.
– With custom-built Alexa skills, stations stations to deliver streaming and on-demand content to Alexa-enabled smart speakers.
– Futuri Streaming offers high-quality streaming with 24/7 VIP support.
Want to learn more? Contact your Futuri Media partner or contact us here.