A few days ago, Sirius XM announced a partnership with Tix Tok as the satellite radio company along with Pandora will partner with the social video platform in creating new channels of distribution.
This will specifically include:
A Tik Tok channel on Sirius XM
Hosted Tik Tok playlists on Pandora
Re-Airings of Pandora Live Events on Tik Tok and this is just a beginning.
Tik Tok Radio is described as “sonically synched to the Tik Tok experience, the channel will feel like a radio version of the For You Page.”
The announcement about the upcoming debut of Tik Tok Radio bugs me for a number of reasons.
I realize they may be aspirational on the ultimate outcome of this initiative, but this is an important announcement to follow.
First and fore-most hats off to Sirius XM for boldly going where others have not gone.
But why does an innovative move have to come from them?
As Fred Jacobs notes in his latest Tech Survey and his recent blog “Our Tech Surveys have consistently shown the biggest existential threat to AM/FM radio isn’t Spotify, EDM Electric Cars or cicadas. It’s the growth of Satellite Radio, the platform that is closest to broadcast radio by style, formatics, personalities and accessibility.”
Sirius XM needs to be watched closely when it comes to unique content creation and new imagination.
Who know how Tik Tok Radio on Sirius XM is going to pan out but the popularity of Tik Tok and the growth curve shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Edison’s Infinite Dial 2021 reports Tik Tok’s Social Media Brand Awareness at 86% of the total 12+ US population up from 64% the year before.
Radio needs to be thinking outside of the normal comfort zone and create new format possibilities for the future.
This needs to be a major priority for the industry.
Take a risk.
Try something new with an available channel of distribution.
Secondly, the fact that Sirius XM thought about a partnership with Tik Tok is annoying as well.
I don’t know the financial terms of their partnership but radio must seek partnership opportunities to thrive for the future.
Third, Sirius XM is capitalizing on a newer form of bite sized content built for a new generation.
They are tapping into a trend and creative influences that are altering the landscape.
They are tapping a platform that has often been the beginning of new, viral word of mouth expression unlike anything we have seen.
The record labels have been hip to this for quite sometime and have used Tik Tok analytics for their benefit in decision making processes.
My fourth concern is how Sirius XM is tapping into Tik Tok’s talent development pipeline.
The Tik Tok Superstar Bella Poarch will provide a launching pad for this new service with her 70 million cume so no need for them to stress where their marketing budget will come from.
The world of influencers is a two by four reminder over the head of radio programmers that talent is everything to the future and radio needs to fuel the talent development pipeline.
Lastly, note the use of the term Radio in this announcement.
Enough said when considering why this announcement bugs me.
Hopefully it bugs you as well and is a wakeup call for industry innovation.
Back in 2010, when Arbitron(which is now Nielsen)introduced a new era in radio ratings with the introduction of their Portable People Meter Service(otherwise known as PPM)it also introduced another term that the industry needed to follow: PUMM.
PUMM stands for Persons Using Measured Media and is defined as “The total reported exposure to encoded media in the market.”
PUMM levels have been on the decline for years and this is keeping me up at night.
Are available audiences just vanishing or are they melting away due to various competitive factors?
Melting is a more exact answer to this dilemma especially in light of Nielsen’s 2020 rollout of the PPM Headphone listening adjustment which addressed years of client complaints that the PPM Meters weren’t adequately measuring radio listening occurring on headphones.
This measurement gap was long seen as a significant culprit of declining PUMM and since the implementation in October 2020 has provided a lift in PPM markets.
The PUMM decline started getting industry attention about four years ago and became a topic of conversation for industry groups I was part of like the Nielsen Advisory Council and the NAB’s Committee on Local Radio Audience Measurement.
Depending on the market the decline ranges from 2 to 5 % per year and is additionally complicated by the behavioral factors associated with the pandemic.
This should serve as a wake-up call to content creators and the need for consistent content excellence.
Follow what has happened with the Television industry and it should give you additional concern.
Traditional consumption has changed for TV.
The impact on Television viewing habits manifests itself in regular ratings horror stories like The 2021 Oscars which laid a massive egg and was watched by a mere 9.85 million viewers.
The content creator of today needs to “bring it” to compete with a short attention span world.
They need to be well prepared and engaged with an audience every second with compelling content that can’t be found anywhere else.
As new platforms emerge for consumption there are stark reminders like at this years Grammy Awards when the group BTS shared a 17 minute clip on a platform called VLive, that raked in almost as many viewers in such a short time as the entire two hour show!
So where is the audience melt coming from regarding PUMM declines?
Multiple sources according to Edison’s 2021 Share of Ear Report:
On-Line Audio consumption now is at roughly 193 Million 12+ and is spread across Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, You-Tube Music, SoundCloud and Sirius/XM as consumer choice.
Then there is owned music which as a consumption option now has 48% of 12+ population.
The options are vast when it comes to how consumers spend time with other entertainment options and this needs to set off alarm bells.
The Covid factor has also forced a shift in behavior that must be acknowledged when it comes to radio consumption patterns.
Although a return to some normalcy cannot be ignored, some companies will undoubtedly allow more work from home options as an employee perk.
The future of computing patterns is uncertain and we know there has been change.
As behavior has shifted it would be wise for radio to find ways to welcome back their audience as if it is “new cume” coming into the pipeline.
I can imagine great real- world production with actual listeners that could accomplish this and help a station stand out in their market.
The “Melt” is not only due to consumption options chipping away at audience.
Its about those unfortunate examples of weak investment in the long- term future of a brand.
Quality is Paramount to Future Success!
Another important reminder that content providers “have to bring it” every available second as they compete for attention and mindshare.
Between investment in great content and acknowledgement of why PUMM levels are under attack the time is now to “Stop the Melt.”
Is your culture based on appreciation?
There are many important core values that should permeate your organization.
Transparency is important so the organization always knows where the business is headed.
From transparency comes a great funnel of communication where the mission is always very clear.
Empathy is always an important core value that guides the mission thru good and bad times.
At its core, one value that is crucial for a successful organization is appreciation.
If you are in a key leadership position that can make a difference challenge yourself to evaluate whether you can build a greater culture of appreciation to drive your organization.
Appreciation is one of the simplest examples of practicing strong etiquette skills in today’s complex world.
So if it is so simple why is it often a missing link from how today’s leaders frame their mission?
Unfortunately, leaders often just “check the box” when they are considering what core values are most important to their future success and they miss the importance of appreciation.
Appreciation can drive an organization from top to bottom, inside the entity and outside as well.
Inside an organization some areas to consider are:
Does your team celebrate and acknowledge great moments of success and thereby showcasing great efforts of performance within your entire building?
This is like an internal bragging book that lives and breathes somewhere physically in your office space.
Does your team celebrate and share great content that has been created as a statement of appreciation?
Does leadership show appreciation for ratings and revenue victories?
Those victories should never be taken for granted.
Appreciation that is expressed among all aspects of the organization and across departments is a contagious fuel for a great culture.
Every department, from on-air, to sales, to promotions, to production, to engineering, to digital, to traffic, to accounting and everything in between deserves acknowledgement and appreciation.
External delivery of appreciation is also vital to the culture of organizations and should be steeped in well honed etiquette skills as well.
Appreciation for what clients and partners mean to the success of an entity.
Appreciation for the audience and their loyalty.
These are vital factors in how brands are perceived.
Appreciation for the community is equally important.
Everything should pass thru the filter of appreciation to be certain this aspect of operating IS the culture.
This is your opportunity to define the heart and soul of your organization for the years ahead.
Buzz Knight shares his thoughts about media happenings