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TV & Radio Broadcasters Are Now at a Crossroads

Why is it so hard to buy and sell TV/radio ads?

The way broadcasters transact with clients to sell inventory has been broken for a long time. The “process” is manual, slow, super decentralized, and there’s no accountability. It’s costly for everyone involved – for broadcasters, agencies, and advertisers.

It’s stunning this status quo has persisted for so long, and not surprising that many say TV and radio are dying industries.

But they’re not dying. In fact, change has finally come after years of anticipation.

There’s a massive ad sales transformation underway and while it’s just beginning, the pace and magnitude of the transformation will ultimately decide the future of broadcasters. From how they sell to what they sell, and everything in between.

Its come about, in part, because broadcasters, pardon my bluntness, are growing more desperate. Consumers' habits are changing, and they need to go where the viewers go. They’re losing the battle with digital and they know it’s now or never. They need to wake up and get their act together or they won’t be around for the long-haul.

What’s more, as broadcasters consolidate and gain new investors, there’s enhanced scrutiny and pressure from above to evolve.

TV and radio broadcasters are now at a crossroads, where they have to decide what their plan is – transform or fizzle out.

But with this pressure comes a new sense of purpose and determination. And I’m here for it, along with the other execs that are rising to the occasion to challenge the status quo.

If you don’t transform, expect these problems to worsen:

  • Shrinking audience and advertiser budgets
  • Struggles staffing your ad sales departments
  • Race to the bottom on pricing

But the industry is ripe with opportunity for those who are bold enough to embrace change:

  • Political dollars are still coming your way
  • Reach is still king and radio and TV still deliver it
  • At the same time, OTT, Podcasts, Streaming, and more allow you to directly compete with the much-needed digital dollars along with specialized targeting

You can’t transform unless you have a complete roadmap to address it. And here’s the problem - so many of the ad sales leaders I talk to are so bogged down and busy with the day-to-day that it’s nearly impossible to think 3 months out, let alone 3 years out.

And while I won’t argue that people are thinking about parts of the transformation, are you truly evaluating it from a holistic viewpoint and developing the roadmap to get there?

If you’re one of these broadcasters who is operating in crazy mode every day, too wrapped up fighting fires to think through where you want to be in 3, 5, 10 years, here’s my advice:

You have to invest time to save time.

You have to invest now to win later. What does that entail? Broadcasters that are succeeding at transformation are using this common sense 4 pillar approach:

  • Technology
  • Strategy
  • People & Process
  • Analytics

Nothing complicated, just a tried-and-true framework, a well-defined plan, and a commitment to execute. I’ve seen it work and I believe it will work for you too.

More detail on each of those to come.

And if you have questions in the meantime, shoot me a note.


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