A Choppy Stream ahead for NEXTRADIO


By Mark Ramsey

February 24th, 2015

With a great flourish, the powers-that-be behind the NextRadio app have announced that this week shall begin a thunderous effort to enlist one constituency so far utterly lacking in enthusiasm for NextRadio’s product: Consumers.

And so begins an onslaught of over-the-air radio spots designed to lead consumers to download an app that will not work on most of their phones, meanwhile attempting to incite rage that the “choppy, buffered streaming radio” that wireless companies “want you to pay for” is no substitute for comparatively crystal-clear FM radio, even though the content being consumed on those streams is proactively selected by consumers, generally different from what’s listened to over the air, and not often very “choppy.”

And, of course, this is being done in the form of a series of 60-second spots, exactly the type of content most folks who stream radio are trying to avoid in the first place.

All of this is happening under the assumption that more promotion – more publicity – more awareness – is the only thing holding back a flood of listeners from rushing to a NextRadio experience.

But where is the evidence of this?

I have analyzed actual metrics for NextRadio previously, and they are somewhere between disappointing and frightening. I don’t understand why the NextRadio folks don’t report on a narrow subset of consumers – folks who have Sprint phones and have downloaded the app, for example – to illustrate actual usage among actual test segments of consumers over time. Why haven’t they done this? Is it because the disappointing realities of consumer usage are being shaken off in the hopes that greater awareness will solve what is fundamentally not an awareness problem?

This kind of “rush to awareness” was the same medicine prescribed for the rollout of HD radio in that on-air advertising juggernaut, which pushed consumers rather unsuccessfully to retailers like Circuit City (pre-Chapter 11), Sharper Image (pre-Chapter 11), and Radio Shack (pre-Chapter 11).

It’s the same kind of “rush to awareness” that sparked the “Radio Heard Here” campaign a few years ago. And as time spent listening slips nationwide, how’s that campaign working for you?

By no means am I against the notion of a better FM (and AM, frankly) experience on mobile devices. In fact, I’m all for it. What I’m against is doing what won’t work by putting the interests of a legacy business model linked to big towers in empty fields ahead of the wants and behaviors of flesh and blood consumers. Consumers are in control, and they speak loudly every day. Are you listening?

Most marketers will say it’s a bad idea to tell consumers they are fools for consuming things their way, not ours. People who stream aren’t stupid, and we shouldn’t use our advertising power to suggest otherwise.

eMarketer recently reported that the trend in digital radio listening is headed toward 191 million monthly listeners by 2019 – an increase of 2 – 5% per year, every year:


Read More HERE

Please Note: Mark Ramsey will be a keynote speaker at BCAB Conference being held in Penticton, BC May 12th to 14th, 2015

Mark Ramsey’s WEBSITE


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