Is there innovation in these two older ad media industries?
Q: We second the request of your readers last Friday (Dec 27, 2013) for you not to leave yet the topic of innovations. We have a related question in the same industry although this one is the ad media industry.
We’re a group of graduating mass communication students whose parents are working in radio stations and newspapers. That’s where we also intend to work after graduating May of next year.
Last month, our school had a couple of guests who were recruiting for their companies. They were telecom companies and search engine organizations. Speakers from these companies told us that radio and newspapers are dying, if not already dead. They said that this is because there have been no innovations in radio and newspapers.
We told our parents about this. They said they don’t know because they’re not company executives and are retiring in a few more years. Our masscom professors said those speakers were biased but did not really disagree about the lack of innovations in radio and newspapers. However, one professor showed us some statistics. Newspaper readership has been going down year after year and radio listenership while in an up and down cycle also showed a long-term downward trend.
Your column seems to know more about the advertising industry and the latest innovations in it. Will you tell us if our recruitment speakers are correct? Where are the innovations in these two even longer standing ad media industries of radio and newspaper?
A: That your parents don’t know is most probably the truth considering their working status, but this is nothing to consider against them. It was because of their work that they were able to bring you through college.
As to your professors, they’re probably into the latest adult learning model. They’re not supposed to teach anymore. They facilitate learning through coaching. As a coach, a professor manages your learning experience on the side. So instead of giving you the answer to your question, a coaching professor guides you to find the answer by yourself. That’s what the masscom professor who showed you those listenership and readership statistics was doing.
So you will understand why, at first, we were reluctant to answer your questions. But because there have been many advertisers who have also raised your questions, we thought we’d give our readers our own thinking starting with our view that the concept of innovation needs broadening from its current narrow definition.
The broader concept of innovation is a new product, service or process created by an entrepreneur. They are created to respond to an industry change or an industry environment change. While such a change presents a threat to the continuing economic health of many industry participants, it is taken as an opportunity by an entrepreneur for growing an existing business or a new business. Your questions pertain to an existing business, specifically, the existing radio and newspaper businesses.
So let’s start with radio. What’s the innovation-triggering change here? It was a change in the listening needs of a segment of radio listeners of DZMM 630. Sometime in the 2000s, more and more listeners wished they could see their favorite radio newscaster like Ted Failon or Doctor Love on TV. It was likely that a smart and alert mind in the ABS-CBN’s News and Current Affairs Division took serious notes of these market signals and translated them into what is now TeleRadyo.
This cable TV channel quickly became popular with both radio listeners and TV viewers. It’s where ABS-CBN broadcasts its flagship AM radio station DZMM 630. ABS-CBN Corporation launched TeleRadyo on April 12, 2007, as “Una sa Balita, Una sa Public Service” (First in News, First in Public Service).
Let’s now apply on TeleRadyo our two tests for an innovation. First, is this a new consumer service that’s a response to a market segment change among radio listeners in that segment? This is an easy test question to answer with a clear “yes.”
Second, did ABS-CBN take this change in its radio listener needs as an opportunity to grow its existing radio business and did that business grow? Consider the following growth indicators. TeleRadyo’s listenership rating has rapidly climbed to a very high level, if not the highest. Its viewership rating is also high. Their number of advertisers is large and continues to grow.
TeleRadyo represents a compelling case of an innovation in a longstanding medium in its industry. Radio has been around for so long and we’ve taken it for granted. But, an innovation like TeleRadyo that has given radio new life and vigor. A sensitive and listening entrepreneur in ABS-CBN caught a market segment’s unspoken need and developed and launched a consumer service that was a unique combination of radio and TV.
Space tells us that we should take up the second but seemingly much more difficult case of innovation in the newspaper industry in next Friday’s column. So please watch for next Friday’s PDI issue.
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