​The calm before the storm | radioinfo

​The calm before the storm

Monday 16 December, 2013

The CRA Christmas drinks is usually a convivial affair. This one, no exception

The CEOs, senior management and other stakeholders deemed to be important enough to be invited into the private function room of The Dolphin hotel in trendy Surry Hills exchange pleasantries befitting the season and talk about the advertising market in the same way people talk about the weather. It could be sunny or it may rain. Who knows?

2014 will undoubtedly be the most vigorously contested year in living memory, yet you wouldn’t know it as the protagonists gathered in small clumps chatting amiably. SCA’s Rhys Holleran is in a group with DMG’s Cathy O’Connor, Grant Broadcasters, Grant Cameron and Capital Radio’s Kevin Blyton.

ARN’s Duncan Campbell is also there along with the network’s Direct Sales Manager, Brian Blacklock along with many of the indutry’s biggest names in sales and management. And then there’s radioinfo. But there’s no talent present. (I’m not sure that came out right.)

There’s a big contingent from the new audience measurement people GfK and a small one from program suppliers Media Heads. Keith Williams flies the flag for RCS.

For the most part, the room makes small talk – hey, its Christmas, after all. But of the bigger talk that bobs up from time to time, group to group, they generally agree that ad spends are very short term and look likely to stay that way for a while. They said that last year too. Evidently they were right.

They also agree that while there will be winners and losers as stations compete with each other like never before, all this upheaval in the market can only be good for radio as it provides news fodder for other media.

But there’s another battle looming of which only few spoke, on condition of anonymity and in hushed tones. The PPCA (representing artists and labels) wants a lot of money, much more than terrestrial radio currently pays, for music that’s played in programs streamed on the internet.
Already, Grant Broadcasters have simply shut down its online streaming saying that it could not possibly afford to pay the PPCA’s ask for its 47 stations.

Record Industry's claims ridiculous: Dugald Cameron

Radio to pay royalties on streamed music: High Court
Watch this space on radioinfo as the battle heats up in 2014 on many fronts.

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