Network Radio Upfront update


As the annual network radio upfront negotiating season is just beginning, RBR/SmartMedia is providing a weekly progress update, based on conversations with buyers and sellers in the marketplace for our annual two-part print feature. This week, we look at Monetizing HD Radio. The HD Radio Alliance may decide that stations can open the HD2 channels for commercial sponsorships possibly as early as 2008. When they do, what options might buyers consider for their clients, beyond the average :30 spot? Excerpts:

"We’ll have to see how well consumer’s embrace this new technology," observed Kim Vasey, Senior Partner/Director of Radio, mediaedge:cia. "I was, however, excited to read about the new iHD radio that will be released for the coming holiday season.  I think that version of the HD radio will help drive interest with consumers.  We are always willing to bring new ideas to the clients and there are many clients who will step ahead of the curve to embrace new media options…I believe that the side channels may offer up the opportunity to play with different spot lengths, creative messaging and / or name branding opportunities but I have not been presented with any specific offers from any of the broadcast groups, thus far."

Says Patrick McNew, PHD EVP/Local Media Network (LMN) Director of Operations: "Once commercial time becomes a reality we will look to possibly sponsor segments of time with billboards and limited commercial breaks."

Agnes Lukasewych, VP, Account Director Radio Broadcast, MPG, thinks advertisers will be able to become more creative on how copy is integrated on these stations: "There could be opportunities to own a channel, as is available on satellite, or commercials that are truly embedded into the programming.  For the right commercial content and price opportunity I’m sure the broadcasters will be open to considering unique concepts.  But first let’s get consumers to buy the radios!"