Monday 23 May 2011

Synchronization of Consumer Touch Points for a FM Station

A FM station can establish a one-on-one connect with its listeners through the following four mediums:
1.      Enabling the FM Broadcast: listener’s action of tuning into the frequency of the radio station on their FM receiver enables them to establish a contact with the radio station. It is the primary and the most important connect, the raison d etre of the FM station. The maximum marketing dollars of the FM station are spent on enabling this transaction.

2.      Social Media: To establish an online connect more and more service providers are joining the social media bandwagon with sign off lines as find us on…or follow us on…thus enabling the station to capture the voice of their listeners. Listening to conversations in the social media space can enable the FM stations to align the programming lineup to match the expectation of their listeners.

3.      Website of the Radio Station: I have seldom come across a FM Station’s website that is dynamic and vibrant. Most of the stations have websites that are more like digital diaries. When I say it’s a digital diary, it means non interactive and static information like RJ profiles, broad overview of programming, film promos (this is something new these days) etc. There are very few stations that mention their website URL on-air.

4.      On Ground Events: These are based on specific themes, festivals or are tied to a social cause. Such events not only reinforce the brand to the existing listeners but also bring in new listeners who may sample the station, post their positive experiences from the event.
Serial nos. 2, 3 and 4 can be classified as the secondary touch points or supplementary to the primary offering and are reinforcement to serial no.1.
Serial nos. 2, 3 and 4 are nimble and can be modified with minor changes to suit the preferences of a wider audience base. For such touch points the station has a better control on the conversations happening around its brand and is in a position to own or drive such conversations.
The broad components that make up a radio station and its distinct identity are:
1.      Programming Line Up
2.      RJ Chatter and the fact that over a period of time RJ’s name becomes synonymous with the name of the FM station
3.      Interstitials
4.      Interactive interstitials that connect the listener to the RJ
5.      Advertisements and brand integrations
Orchestrating listener’s experience across the components with all the touch points that are exposed to the listener, will create a highly successful offering.
India has approx. 800 million mobile phone users as compared to 80 million online users, thus it is imperative for a radio station to own the user experience for the mobile device and make it pivotal to drive a synchronous user experience across other different touch points.
Some of the radio industry honchos believe that 50% of FM listenership happens over the mobile phone. Perhaps the experience should be taken beyond the mere act of listening to a particular FM station on mobile. To maintain listener loyalty and a high brand recall, a mobile application should provide:
1.          Information about FM station.
2.          Information on Radio Jockeys.
3.          A means to connect with Radio Jockeys.
4.          An archive of interstitials and other library content.
5.          Celebrity videos, a day into the life of RJ, how does a radio station look like etc.
6.          Traffic updates/utility information.
7.          Information on the current programs/songs meta-data and programs/songs that are coming up next.
8.          A contest zone.
9.          Linkages to the social media. The application should allow the listener to give thumbs up or thumbs down, on their social media/station’s social media page, to a specific program they are listening on the radio.
10.      Interactivity. The listener should be able to respond to RJ cues in real time using the mobile application. E.g. responding to RJ’s cue of what is listener’s opinion about single parents? etc.
Please note that here I have not made any reference to providing streaming music. This involves an additional payout of royalties by the radio station to the music labels and therefore may hamper the commercial viability of providing such an application to listeners.
The above list is not exhaustive and can have additional elements to the above basic stack as subsequent upgrades or versions.
On first glance the stack appears as a thing similar to visual radio. However, in my opinion visual radio in India comes across as commerce based application that enables the users of visual radio to buy digital merchandise like song ringtones/wallpapers/song dedication to a friend etc. I see it more as a Value Added Services (VAS) offering by the telecom operator to boost their VAS revenue. How the existing visual radio application helps in driving user loyalty and experience, I am unable to comprehend. I still don’t see it as a mobile application that helps build the listener community dedicated to the radio station it represents.
However the basic stack that I have outlined can be monetized by the radio station in the following manner:
1.         Have sections/tabs of the mobile application sponsored by specific brands.
2.         Song meta data can have additional information like “Catch this movie on Channel XYZ, coming Sunday at 12 Noon”. The same property can be sold to the TV channel.
Well, the above are a couple of examples that can help the station gain currency with advertisers.
Since the mobile application outlined here is not tied to any commerce transactions based upon music merchandise, it can be made available on the cloud and the user can download the same by entering a URL on their phone browser irrespective of the telecom operator. This helps the station to keep a track of how many people have downloaded the application and from which regions. By transposing the application download/usage metrics data with Radio Audience Measurement (RAM) data, the station gets to know the number of active and engaged listeners versus passive listeners. This also helps the station in validating the RAM data to a certain extent.
I strongly believe that this is the way to go. Irrespective of the geographical footprint of the station, such a mobile application helps the station to own and orchestrate the listener experience. If the same can be made available in languages other than English, it will be a killer app!
Well that’s the end of this bulletin. If you found this post interesting, and if you have time, please drop a line..!!!

1 comment:

If you have time, please drop a line..!!