7 In 10 TV Viewers Stream

A new CEA/NATPE study shows only 55% of Millennials view programming on an actual TV.

Laptops, tablets and smartphones are headed to be the replacement for traditional television.

Other interesting findings:

  • The Millennial group (13-34) is more likely to watch full-length TV shows from a streaming source (84% streamed in the past six months). They watch live TV 54% of the time and DVR’s 33%.
  • 51% of Millennials consider Netflix more important than cable or TV. I wish I still owned Netflix stock last week when it climbed $100 a share.
  • Older Gen Xers like video on-demand (76% watch video on-demand once a week). DVRs are used to avoid commercials.
  • Multi-screen viewing is increasing. Millennials are fine watching Game of Thrones on a tablet or laptop – even a smartphone.

I mention all of this because today’s money demo consumers are platform agnostic.

Unfortunately, radio is not.

If a radio company paid $100 million for a cluster of stations in a given market or two they have this feeling of denial that clouds their thinking.

We keep getting studies to confirm that audiences will listen or watch content anywhere as long as they can control what they are consuming and even how much they get to consume.

That would be bingeing – a video concept radio stations would be wise to explore.

When radio stations create content that can only be consumed the way it was 10, 20 or 30 years ago on and for a radio, you can see where the first problem is.

Therefore, radio stations should sign off.

Not off the air, but sign off as only a radio station and if you’re going to do radio, do the best radio ever. Sadly, we both know that is not the case now.

They need to reset their focus to being creators of content.

This can, of course, include live 24/7 radio but it had better be more.

When you see the ad revenue tumbling in major markets – iHeart’s excellent LA cluster off double digits and Cumulus’ Chicago cluster off 30% -- it shouldn’t take much to realize that radio needs to face a few realities.

Become more platform agnostic – make separate content for as many devices as possible.

Stop programming for PPM and upend traditional hot clocks to create a new source of programming. Listeners are not PPM. They are nothing like it. To program to PPM is to hurt yourself.

Reduce radio’s reliance on simple music formats (short playlists cranking out music that is easily available in streaming music services or personal playlists).

Embrace storytelling – if you’re coming to Philly for my conference, I will wager that one of the most useful discussions is how to do storytelling on the air.

Millennial listeners love storytelling and sorry, storytelling is not podcasting. Or as I like to kid my friend Norm Pattiz of PodcastOne, podcasting is just a way for Norm to make more money doing Westwood One again online. It’s spoken word radio on the Internet – not going to fly with Millennials.

For radio operators, it is too dangerous to sit home and simply repeat last year.

I’ve isolated the 10 things that can make the biggest difference to radio stations if you are willing to think differently about them.

Here’s a quick sample:

  1. Too Many Commercials – How spots are scheduled can make a difference. Also, the length of spots in each stop set. There is much that can be done. To proceed as is is not a solution.
  2. Unremarkable Programming For 70 Million Baby Boomers – All the focus is on young money demo Millennials. Baby boomers have been radio’s most loyal listeners but that’s changing now. Ignore baby boomers, target them or better yet discover what the two disparate groups have in common.      
  3. Outdated Morning Shows – They like personalities but increasingly they don’t like much else about morning shows.  Focus on three new features to replace traffic, time checks and weather. Yes, they don’t need them. But consider these three potent options to replace tired old staples of morning radio. (And you can sell them!)
  4. Music That Is Too Repetitive – Audiences have hated music repetition on radio for decades but they had few alternatives. Not so anymore. Two new strategies show promise. One adds more new music without watering down the hits. The better approach is to rip up the traditional playlist and present the music differently.
  5. No Compelling Reason To Listen Longer – Radio TSL has been down every year since the early 90’s. Under 30’s don’t even listen to any song all the way through even though music radio is built on the assumption that if you play the right songs, the audience will stay tuned in. Now, there is a way to keep listeners from straying and it isn’t longer music sweeps.
  6. Don’t Like the Way Stations Talk To Them – Sounds dated, insincere. Too much bragging and hype. It all sounds like radio is out of touch. Talking down to listeners whether we mean to or not.  Surprising words that turn off young audiences when used on the air, in promos, sweepers, imaging and commercials. Learn them and overcome this objection.
  7. Radio Is Not Authentic – Demographers have discovered 5 things that Millennials crave. Do these 5 things every hour of every day and radio becomes more relevant to the 95 million members of this age group.  One of the 5 things they crave is more authenticity. Learn the fastest way to master being truly authentic to Millennials but also the four other expectations that radio is currently not meeting.  They are screaming this out for you to hear.
  8. Lack of Music Variety and Customization – Spotify, Pandora and YouTube are killing radio when it comes to variety and customization. There may be no way to compete with that, but audiences are beginning to tell us what these streaming services are lacking presenting a great opportunity for responsive radio stations to do what streaming services cannot do.
  9. Outdated News and Talk – Two staple radio formats are seeing audiences erode or attracting unsellable aging demographics.  News stations don’t just sound like their father’s radio station – they sound like their grandfathers radio station. Droning on and on with sleepy features designed for station sales managers not for listeners to crave. Conservative talk is also over because audiences want compromise not red meat. And Progressive talk radio never really worked. It’s a no-win. But spoken word is something young Millennials like, really like – here is the spoken word station of the future (bring an open mind).
  10. Don’t Know Where the AM Band Is – Think about it. There’s nothing for audiences under 60 on AM. So you may be thinking that younger money demos won’t listen to an AM station, right? True, unless … well, I’ll show you a number of things you could do on two tin cans hooked together with a string that Millennials would eat up.  Will you take that challenge?  Because I’m going to do it and you’re going to want to brainstorm on it. Forget the FCC. AM needs to disrupt FM the way FM disrupted AM.

PLUS, What Audiences REALLY Want In Digital Content …

There is nothing worse than doing something well that doesn’t need to be done at all. Some stations are doing impressive digital initiatives that audiences simply don’t care about.

Instead, drill down on what listeners really want in digital and get a better return on your investment in time and money:

  1. Storytelling Instead of Podcasting
  2. Short-Form Video Revenue Stream
  3. Non-hyped Social Media Beyond Facebook and Twitter
  4. Content Audiences Can Binge on Just Like They Do Netflix
  5. Apps Not Websites (and That Includes Radio)

This is a day worth your time and investment.

A clearly defined agenda, creative and innovative solutions to apply and a forum to discuss and hitchhike on new ideas that you hear.

Independent broadcasters and digital entrepreneurs are invited to the 6th annual Media Solutions Seminar at the Hub Conference Center March 18th in Philadelphia, walking distance from Amtrak’s 30th Street Station and 20 minutes from Philadelphia International Airport.

Buffet breakfast, lunch and all breaks prepared by James Beard award-winning chef Jean-Marie Lacroix, former executive chef at The Four Seasons included.

Less than 8 weeks from today to reserve as seat at the next Media Solutions Conference.

Register Now

Contact Jerry about the conference and group rates here.