How Bauer Media’s ads chief sees ‘fundamental changes’ in radio

How Bauer Media’s ads chief sees ‘fundamental changes’ in radio
The Media Leader TV


Radio audiences have undergone “fundamental changes” since the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Bauer Media Advertising’s managing director Simon Kilby, as the traditional breakfast peak appears to have been replaced by a longer peak that extends into mid-morning.

Speaking to The Media Leader, Kilby insisted Bauer and rival UK audio giant Global have been able to adapt to significant changes in audio-listening behaviours with a “deliberate strategy” of creating national stations brands that have added DAB variants to capture a longer tail of specialist audiences.

He says: “When we first went into the pandemic, you did see real shifts in listening, an increase in listening at home. That [audience] peak was slightly moving away from breakfast because people weren’t on the school run or commuting in the same way. In the last 12 months you’ve seen it start to move back, but not fully. There are fundamental changes.”

This confirms The Media Leader‘s analysis of Rajar audience trends for all commercial radio in the last 10 years, in which the AM peak has become longer. Despite this, media buyers report a tendency for advertisers to want to buy ads around breakfast and drivetime in particular, even though mid-morning audiences may now be generally highest as more people regularly work from home.

“Audio is now a thriving, growing, mobile, digital, always-on media,” he argues, and compares this to how radio was seen in the recent past as an “old world” medium when there was always “something that was going to kill it”, whether that was TV or digital. As a result, radio was always the first channel to be taken off plans.

Kilby maintains audio is now “the most exciting place to work in media” and has a great future ahead of it.

“If I could wave a magic wand, I would get agencies and clients to really fully appreciate the value of audio and give it a much bigger percentage of their overall media budgets because in my view, it absolutely deserves it,” he concludes.

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