Traditional media that satisfies the needs of a modern consumer

September 2017
Advertiser Serbia

Zorana Đokić, our Senior Media Buyer/Planner, gave an interview for Advertiser Serbia.

Is radio in Serbia on a par with the rest of the world? This article is part of a series of professionally authored articles from the distinguished Direct Media; one of the leading communication agencies in the region, with a multidecade accumulated theoretical knowledge and praxis in the area of planning and renting media space… Our co-speaker in a series of four articles is Zorana Đokić, Senior Media Buyer/Planner Direct Media.

Explain the ongoing position of radio in the conglomerate of media channels, on one side in the world in general, and on the other in Serbia and the Southeast Europe region.

Taking into account the data that is being published here, nor in the world, it could be said that radio coverage is stable. Not even the way in which listeners consume radio has changed significantly in Europe, listening via FM receivers is the dominant choice. The thing that is a challenge for every type of media including radio in Serbia, or anywhere in the world for that matter is: How to respond to trends: personalization, interaction (two-way communication between public and the media), relativity of context and content, the ever growing number of different types of media, technologies, divided attention of the public, measuring the effects of radio campaigns….

Radio has a huge challenge, to stay relevant. In order to achieve just this, it has to create content that can be placed in all technologies, on all platforms for live airing, delayed listening or On Demand. Radio has to invest in its content, because the results that the BBC achieves is a by-product of the top-notch program that the listeners recognize. Cooperation with various industries, like the automobile industry can lead to new, younger consumers of radio, and also maintain steady coverage with the already loyal public.

Introduce media planning for Radio in the changed conditions that is being dictated by the digital revolution

Every media, including radio, comes into contact with challenges that are being imposed by the development of new technologies and new behavioral habits of the consumers that are reflecting upon a change in the way of consuming media. Already with the introduction of television it was thought that radio would cease to exist, and then new gadgets came along (Walkman, iPod, cellular phones…) and all of them posed a threat to radio. Radio, as a media in some countries, such as Great Britain and the United States of America is showing has shown growth in coverage in the last few years even with the all-present digitalization. Radio is generating a very big percent of population coverage on a weekly level of about 90% in Great Britain, while in Serbia that percentage is significantly lower (around 60% according to TGI)

The digital revolution could have a positive influence if the media starts adapting to the changes quickly and starts controlling them. So today, in developed countries, from FM signals they are switching over to DAB (digital audio broadcasting), the form of radio programs is changing, so, alongside live media, radio is starting to personalize content and make it possible for listeners to create their own content; to listen to what they enjoy whenever they want. In any case, the development of radio will go in the direction of personalization – there already exist radio stations that let the listener skip a song and move onto the next one, but to still listen to the same host, there are new platforms as well that function with an algorithm that detects what the individual likes, and offers them songs that it believes would suit their taste. Music services like Pandora and Spotify are new forms of “radio” for newer generations of music consumers. In America, Pandora had great success, and slowly the trend is coming towards Europe, but still over 90% of listeners choose linear listening using a classic FM receiver. However, the fact that the BBC and NPR are currently investigating the possibility of listening to radio on-demand should not be neglected.

The biggest issue of radio in Serbia is the lack of an advertising budget and the know-how that would enable an investment into better quality content on radio stations which would keep listeners engaged in this media. The biggest global advertisers on radio are supply chains, banks, and the automotive industry. In Serbia, because of a limited budgets and ways of payment, banks would rather invest in realizing their budgets through Facebook, Google, or local websites; while the automobile industry is undeveloped. The advantage of radio in Serbia, and is the aspect that is used in large amounts by the retail sector, is the local network of radio stations and cheap advertisement which effectively builds loyalty in smaller cities and different territories.

In what way did Direct Media respond to the aforementioned changes, as one of the largest regional media agencies/systems?

Differing from other agencies, Direct Media has a whole sector dedicated to radio – planning, renting space and building relations through meetings and development of radio tactics for brands. All of these methods bring considerable benefits in raising awareness, building and making a brand stronger and promoting radio ads for specific campaigns.

For five years I have been a part of the RAB (Radio Advertising Bureau) Serbia council, where together with radio stations, we try to find an optimal solution for raising awareness of the importance of radio for advertisers. We also promote radio as a media in order to maintain coverage in newer generations that have grown up with the internet. Developing loyalty for authentic audio content that represents new trends in music, gives useful information daily, and shares emotional and fun stories of radio hosts that are characteristic for this type of media.