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Digital opinion

Interactive future of digital radio gives power to listeners

Meet the digital radio programme directors of the future: You and your fellow listeners. With technology making it easy for digital radio stations to crowdsource some or all of the programming on their digital radio stations, the power is increasing in the listener's hands.
Technologies like Listener Driven Radio (LDR) are becoming more and more popular in South Africa because of the amount of engagement and participation it drives from listeners, a trend that in turn is creating exciting opportunities for marketers and advertisers.

Listeners love having a say in the music they listen to. It makes them passionate and excited about the content, and keeps them coming back for more. We believe that we will see more radio broadcasters implementing platforms with social and crowdsourcing elements in their strategies over the coming years."

Kagiso Digital was the first South African company to use LDR in the form of Ja.fm, an online music offering using the crowdsourcing model to offer an exclusively Afrikaans play list, which was launched in 2011. Ja.fm plays a wide range of Afrikaans music - some of it familiar, some of it less well-known, all of it accessible - and gets the audience to curate the play list through their interactions.

A viable opportunity

The success of Ja.fm shows that there is a viable opportunity for niche streaming radio offerings in South Africa. With more than 50,000 sessions served a month and a social media reach in excess of 75,000 people per month, this platform has grown into an exciting opportunity for marketers and advertisers.

"There is already a viable and interactive audience in South Africa and we will see the digital radio landscape grow substantially in the next three years. But even more important than the size of the user base and the page impressions it generates is the quality and engagement of the audience," says Daniel Anstandig, CEO and co-founder at Kagiso Digital's US technology partner LDR.

Ja.fm is following the growth path of LDR in the US and other countries by building a strong adult listener market that is highly interactive and which tends to make repeat visits to the online radio station he adds. Bounce rates are low on Ja.fm at just 8% and 92% of the audience return to the site within two days. This gives advertisers an opportunity to reach out to a highly engaged community that reaches from the Ja.fm environment into the social media world.

Sharing messages

LDR's experience indicates that LDR listeners are more likely to share a message about a brand they like on social media than are radio broadcast listeners, says Anstandig. That means that brands may get reach from their marketing in this environment that stretches into platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

The point is, digital radio is a powerful platform for advertisers because it is targetable and offers intelligence about the tastes and responses of users, especially when combined with crowdsourcing technologies.

Advertisers can use information gathered from systems like LDR (and others) to change messaging or creative for a campaign whilst a campaign is still running. Behavioural targeting can also be used to determine routes on the site that users frequent most regularly so that advertising plans can be developed accordingly. In the not too distant future, Ja.fm will offer targeting according to demographics, geographic data, age splits and/or gender splits.
    
 

About Attila Bernariusz

Attila Bernariusz is divisional head of Kagiso Digital and oversees the incubation of new digital and media convergence opportunities for the Kagiso Group.
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