Wednesday 22 November 2017

AdLib... Radio's challenge of tracking tracks

The KBC Forty Foot ad
The KBC Forty Foot ad
Rita Kirwan joins Aldi from 02.
Today FM chief Peter McPartlin

Moves are under way to expand the Joint National Radio Listenership Research (JNLR) and provide advertisers with a more realistic breakdown of Ireland's audio market. With on-demand brands like YouTube and iTunes 'intruding' into the traditional mediascape - which up to recently was the sole preserve of radio - station owners like Communicorp, RTE and UTV are anxious to fill the audience information gaps demanded by advertisers.

Speaking at the first Communicorp One breakfast briefing for agencies in the Smock Alley Theatre, Today FM chief executive Peter McPartlin (inset) said when it comes to tracking on-demand music, station owners are singing off the same hymn sheet. "But it must be done gradually," McPartlin insisted. "JNLR is a fantastic piece of research. Having said that, there's an acceptance the game has moved on and a willingness to include other audio."

JNLR research agency Ipsos mrbi has been testing ideas. Podcasting trends are tracked but not to the extent industry interests would like. For instance, Today FM increased its podcasts last year and averaged 240,000 a month, which was not reflected in JNLR reports. "But as it is, JNLR is the only way we can make money - it's the industry currency, without which we'd all be goosed," Mr McPartlin said.

A former agency director, McPartlin said there's a perception that conventional radio has lost its way, which is wrong. Truth is the first casualty of war and the obsession with JNLR feeds a frenzy of PR four times a year where no one seems to lose and there's more pointed arrows than at General Custer's last stand.

In a top line study of listeners, 89pc of Today FM listeners said they do most listening through FM radio, compared to 85pc of Newstalk and 75pc to music station TXFM respectively. YouTube is still the most popular choice for sourcing on-demand music, followed by iTunes, Spotify and Shazam. Playback listening continues to grow and US crime podcast Serial has sparked a trend of 'binge-listening'.

Guest speaker Judith Spilsbury from the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) in the UK began her talk with a quote from David Bowie: "The absolute transformation of everything that we ever thought about music will take place within 10 years. Music itself is going to become like running water." By that, Spilsbury meant music is everywhere. But given the water charges in Ireland soon, her analogy was about as sound as her accident-prone AV show.

* With KBC Ireland announcing plans for 100 new jobs as part of its retail expansion with five new branches, the Belgian bank is reviewing its media buying and planning. As interested parties had to sign confidentiality agreements, finding out which agencies are pitching is trickier than confirming the Three Secrets of Fatima. But AdLib has learned that the incumbent Mediaworks is presenting. KBC's head of brand and marketing, Aidan Power, is also talking to GroupM's Mindshare and Vizeum, the agency he worked alongside while at EBS. Pictured is a Robbie Keane lookalike with a young child in a KBC ad filmed at the Forty Foot bathing place in Sandycove, Co Dublin.

* As German discounters Aldi and Lidl work their way towards an expected combined 20pc share of the Irish grocery market, Aldi has again shows its intent by hiring a high-profile marketing boss. Rita Kirwan (pictured left) joins from 02 where she led brand communications and sponsorship, including IRFU and Live Nation interests. A Marketer of the Year finalist in 2011, Ms Kirwan helped Largo Foods' owner Ray Coyle roll out controversial print ads for Hunky Dorys snacks - which irked the IRFU - and put Tayto Park on the theme park map. Before that, she spent over five years with Pernod Ricard Irish Distillers in New York, Chicago and Dublin. Aldi's sponsorships include The Restaurant on TV3 and 2fm's Nicky Byrne Show.

* For the 10th year running, media agency OMD opened its doors last week to transition year (TY) students for an intensive work experience programme. The 25 students came from schools in Dublin, Wicklow and Waterford. OMD managing director Tim Griffiths says the programme helps the agency, TY students, clients, media owners and wider adland.

Five 'agencies' were each assigned an OMD mentor. Working to a brief for Heinz Beans, they met with radio stations, newspaper groups, poster firms and Twitter. A final presentation was made to judges - including Heinz marketing manager Emily O'Kane - and an audience of teachers, parents, mentors and media owners. The winning agency was The Bean Team.

* Local and global trends are the theme of the Association of Advertisers in Ireland's (AAI) February gathering. Behaviour & Attitudes' director Neil Douglas will talk about his agency's Sign of the Times research, while Amarach's Gerard O'Neill will discuss global aspects and opportunities for Ireland. The breakfast is in Core Media at 8am next Tuesday.

Michael Cullen is editor of

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