SWOT: Radio, Someone Still Loves You

There’s something in the air(waves) this week. 
SWOT: Radio, Someone Still Loves You
Photo by Jacob Hodgson / Unsplash

Welcome to SWOT by Sound Story, your weekly inside track on the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats looming for the entertainment industry.

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Trending: Rebel Wilson’s memoir will finally be published in Australia but with an entire chapter on her account of working with Sacha Baron Cohen redacted – weeks after it was published in its entirety in the US. Words by Sian Cain. Source: The Guardian

🎵 Music: Matt Gudinski, Vanessa Picken & Nathan McLay among Aussies in Billboard’s 2024 International Power Players. Words by Ellie Robinson. Source: TheMusic.com.au

📰 Media: Sandra Sully accidentally says Pauline Hanson is fighting against claims she is a ‘rapist’ in mortifying live TV blooper. Source: News.com.au.  

💰 Advertising: Metrics meltdown: Avoid TV's 'colossal balls up' in podcast measurement warn agencies as fragmentation inhibits ad spend, buyers grapple with walled gardens, cross-platform attribution, 'surface level' Triton Digital ranker. Words by Kalila Welch. Source: Mi3.

📲 Tech: How music-tech and the indies are entering a golden era. Words by Josh Simons. Source: The Music Network

📜 Government: Australia has been urged to hit big tech companies with a new digital platform tax to fund trusted news media in order to confront the “rising tide of misinformation and disinformation”. Words by Daniel Hurst. Source: The Guardian

🌶️ Spicy: Comedian Jim Jefferies has fired back at a Triple M radio presenter who called him a “deadsh*t” on the radio earlier in the week. Words by Andrew Bucklow. Source: News.com.au.

Strength: Radio, Someone Still Loves You

There’s something in the air(waves) this week. 

👉 Radio has been everywhere this week – advertisements, newspapers, online, TV, podcasts, social media, comments sections, you name it.

👉 This is largely being driven by the hype (and hyperbole) of The Kyle & Jackie O Breakfast show launching into Melbourne via KIIS 101.1.

👉 And the headlines just haven’t stopped. There’s Kyle Sandilands claiming rival (and former employer) SCA offered him and Jackie a national show (a claim which SCA’s Dave Cameron swiftly called “categorically untrue and fundamentally bonkers”), and The Project’s Steve Price going tit-for-tat with Kyle about ‘failure’.  

👉 Plus, you could spend all day reading think pieces speculating on “Will it, or won’t it work?”, and then another day reading the reactions to the think pieces from the various people involved, but one thing is clear, everyone is talking about radio again.

👉 It also emerged this week that the ABC has appointed well-respected industry stalwart, Emily Copeland, to the role of Head of Music – where she will manage the music strategy across triple j, Double J, triple j Unearthed, ABC Country, ABC Classic and ABC Jazz. 

Weakness: Turbulent Times for Airlines

It’s been a bumpy ride for airlines of late. It seems like no matter how much they spend on media blitzes, PR fixes and bait-and-switches, they just can’t seem to win the public over. 

👉 Regional competitor Bonza entered the fray early last year, offering ‘point-to-point leisure services it contended were not offered by the major, metro-focused, giants. “Bonza is here to take Aussies from A to B without the C (cost and complexity),” Chief Commercial Officer, Carly Povey, declared.

👉 Just 15 months later though, there was cost, and there was, indeed, complexity, with the airline cancelling all flights and entering voluntary administration.

👉 The blame game has already started, with one expert telling the Fear & Greed podcast, there was no way Qantas and Virgin were going to “sit back and watch somebody eat their lunch” (via Mumbrella).

👉 Qantas never likes to be too far from a negative headline these days too, with confusion reigning about app glitches, and whether it pointed to something bigger (and more sinister).

👉 Multiple statements and updates later, Qantas insisted that whole “some customers were shown the flight and booking details of other frequent flyers”, “this didn’t include financial information, and no customers were able to transfer or use Qantas Points of other Frequent Flyers”. 

Opportunity: The Next Big Thing in Media

Headlines abound at the moment about the contracting media and advertising markets, but there are some glimmers of hope. So we asked the Sound Story team: What is the biggest opportunity you see that could reshape the landscape?

📌 Vivienne: Last week we wrote about music publishers going back to the future, and now Cosmopolitan magazine is coming back? What a time to be alive! It’s a fascinating moment for ‘women’s media’, particularly at a time when it can’t really get away with just glamorising hyper-thin people, offering bedroom tips and selling self-consciousness under the guise of #girlboss empowerment anymore, and when tensions are so high about women’s safety at home (literally) and the world over. It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on the return of physical magazines (bearing in mind ELLE also returned recently), as well as more recent innovations, such as the rapidly expanding Shameless Media empire (which recently launched a new vertical and can’t seem to stop growing), and Broad Radio.

📌  Zanda: Media and advertising markets continue to be reshaped in 2024, as consumers flock to spaces like podcasts, short-form video, and gaming. It’s no surprise to those in the know that gaming is a growth segment in terms of both players and viewers on platforms like Twitch and YouTube. Many in the segment have rightly pushed the narrative that gaming is a largely untapped channel for advertisers, something that DEPT’s global CEO, Dimi Albers, told Mumbrella this week.

But we’ve been hearing this over and over again in recent years. As far back as 2021, I spoke with gaming and esports leaders like Livewire’s Brad Manuel and Fortress’ Jon Satterley, who at the time pointed out something that remains true – there’ll likely need to be a generational change in those in charge of the biggest marketing budgets before we see a bigger shift in dollars flowing away from legacy media. Undoubtedly, gaming offers access to a hard-to-reach audience, both young and old. But education remains a key piece, one that is ongoing, as surmised well by AdNews’ Jason Pollock in his three-part long read on gaming earlier this year.

Threat: Something Big, This Way Comes

There have been some massive movements in the US media market which could have far-reaching and wide-spread implications closer to home. 

👉 Consolidation amongst big media players and studios is on the horizon in the US, which will have big implications for how some Australian media companies and streamers are run, and which content they house.

👉 The Global CEO of Paramount (which locally owns Network 10, 10Play and Paramount+), Bob Bakish, has stepped down, ahead of a possible merger with Skydance Media.

👉 Locally, at Paramount, there have already been significant shifts and shuffles this year, including redundancies.

👉 Movement was also afoot at Warner Bros Discovery ANZ, with significant senior leadership changes, which would change who oversaw the launch of the Max streaming service in Australia and New Zealand, if that’s still the plan.

👉 All of these shifts come amid discussions of what will happen to Australia’s (potentially saturated) streaming TV market, and increasing debate about whether we have left the ‘Golden TV’ era, and entered the ‘Mid TV’ era.  

The Fun Stuff

Quote of the Week: “I’ve never seen radio talked about more. It’s a great thing. It’s actually really exciting, because we love radio and radio is a really powerful medium,” Co-Host of ‘Fifi, Fev & Nick, Fifi Box, on all the chatter about ‘Kyle & Jackie O’ storming into Melbourne. (Via Mumbrella).

📺 Show of the Week: A reliable source informs us that the offices of one Sound Story client were abuzz with chatter about The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst this week. Season 1 came out way back in 2015, but Season 2 is currently doing a slow drop some nine years later. You can read about the phenomenon here, or start Binge-ing it here.

Team Tidbit: The Sound Story team wrangled a smattering of top Aussie journos for Spotify’s inaugural Media Masterclass at Spotify HQ in Sydney on Thursday. After a deep dive on how Spotify is driving outcomes for Aussie artists, the crowd was treated to a passionate and raw Q&A and performance from Spotify’s latest EQUAL Ambassador, Mia Wray.

Spotify’s latest EQUAL Ambassador, Mia Wray
Written by
Sound Story
Sound Story is Australia’s leading strategic communications consultancy for the creative industries with clients spanning music, media, advertising and technology.
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