Assorted Music and Broadcasting Pundits Make Predictions for 2016

Full disclosure: I was asked to participate in this RAIN (Radio And Internet News)survey of music and broadcasting peeps regarding predictions for 2016. Let’s get started:

Podcasting

“As podcasting becomes easier to do, awareness rises, the content continues to improve and the Smartphone becomes the entertainment hub, podcasting will look even bigger in 2016. The giant catalyst is the Smartphone which is now the personal entertainment hub – people are bringing the content with them to work, leisure activities and especially the car. It will be especially fascinating to watch what happens with the car.” Steve Goldstein

“2016 will be the year of “non-music” content. The shift from traditional broadcast to digital has been driven primarily by music listening and to a much lesser extent by the spoken word content. In 2016, we’ll see a dramatic acceleration of the digital offering and consumption of “non-music” content through various formats and on-demand experiences.” Alexis van de Wyer

“2016 will bring continued and steady growth in the on demand audio and podcast markets though with some consolidation of players. I do see a danger of expectations outpacing the realities around the adoption of on-demand audio and podcasting by radio groups and stations. I see these two mediums converging more in 2016, but the pace of this convergence is a 5- to 10-year evolving direction as radio declines and on-demand podcasts grow in listeners and content producers.” Rob Greenlee

“Personalised global, social, ubiquitous audio content, made for the audience and with the audience, meaning podcasts as the next big thing for 2016.” Paula Cordeiro

“Our Techsurvey data shows the explosion of on-demand video usage. There’s no reason to think that same revolution won’t occur on the audio side of the street. But it will require a strategic process and investment if commercial broadcasters are to optimize the podcasting opportunity.” Fred Jacobs

“2016 will be the year a handful of players emerge to dominate the on-demand audio listening space. Right now the podcast App in iOS dominates, but I suspect by year-end a few apps will emerge with audiences in the millions. These apps will help users organize the chaos that comes from the abundance of content out there […] While endorsement-style ads will still dominate, a more transactional style of ad more similar to radio will gain steam to bring big brands into on-demand audio advertising, with appropriate downward pressure on CPMs […] There will be a growing focus from advertisers on the handful of podcasts that can deliver 7-figure audiences regularly. Apples-to-apples rankers of podcast audiences will drive that trend as they emerge in 2016.” Bryan Moffett

Radio

“Radio used to be powered exclusively by the commercials played between the music.  In 2016 it will be about the data, collected before, during and after the music via streaming registration, skips, plays, preferences and usage. Those who require, analyze and apply the data will win in relevancy and revenue with advertisers and audience alike.” Ruth Presslaff

“The CRB decision that reduces rates for streaming likely causes the remaining non-streaming broadcasters to move online. It will also improve the economics of the creation of new and unique music channels published by broadcasters.” Neal Schore

“Looking at 2016 from a radio broadcasting perspective, operators should be excited that so many web-based innovations include well-branded, smart-thinking stations.” Fred Jacobs

“With streaming rates now actually being cheaper for Broadcast stations, the reality will start to sink in that ‘simulcasting’ doesn’t quite compete well enough with other offerings online. For most still focusing on local audiences this will be an uphill battle in terms of maintaining a meaningful scale now that there won’t be any limits on competition by the nature of the medium. Watch out for a few adapting and reinventing themselves digitally.” Ari Shohat

“Except for the entertaining on-air banter and ad dollars that presidential politics will afford us, 2016 isn’t going to be a good year for media. The rumblings haven’t been good – not just for radio, but for all traditional media. Businesses will continue to reduce ad budgets in favor of spending more money on promotions and internal marketing (social media in particular). […] Radio is actually in a stronger position than most traditional media. I think you’ll see ad revenue down 1.5%. But about one-fourth of the industry will actually see revenues grow in 2016. They will be the ones with aggressive digital offerings matched to what the market is buying (and I don’t mean streaming-audio commercials).” Gordon Borrell

“Apart from YouTube, my sense is that radio will continue to provide the free, ad-supported tier that drives monetization from most listeners at a lower ARPU while interactive access will serve a smaller segment but with the benefit of the higher ARPU of the subscription model.” David Porter

“At least one more terrestrial radio network will join iHeartMedia in pursuing a serious future in pureplay streaming, with a modicum of success but offering nothing revolutionary.” Thomas McAlevey

“Rapid increase in the supply of online audio inventory from broadcasters outside of the US as those publishers begin splitting their simulcasts in response to global market demand for online audio.” Neal Schore

“I will still be able to write an article on December 31, 2016 asking why streaming broadcast radio is still such a bad experience after 20 years. Sean Ross

“In my travels and discussions, far too many radio people are in denial about the tectonic change at the doorstep. Although, I’m happy to report there are some broadcasters who are thinking beyond the transmitter.” Steve Goldstein

“One of the top 2 radio companies will file bankruptcy, or at least begin to be sold off for parts.” Tom Leykis

“Traditional radio will be fine. Stakeholders will slowly understand that margins won’t be as fat as in the past and will begin to demand that the industry get with the program and start figuring out ways to be more interactive in an Internet protocol-powered world.” Alan Cross

There’s a lot more to read. Continue on.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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