With the Irish audio sector continuing to grow, Peter Smyth, CEO of IRS+ outlines some of the key trends that will underpin this growth in 2024.
This year has the potential to be one of the most consequential years in the radio industry. Emerging trends that we’ve noticed in recent years will now become core elements of the media landscape.
Next year, expect to see new developments in branded content and more personalised and on-demand content – particularly in local markets – will become even more important to listeners and brand advertisers.
Radio does not exist in a vacuum so outside factors affecting the world in general will also play a role. The impact of AI (Artificial Intelligence) will be felt more keenly in terms of radio formatting and interactivity.
In light of Cop 28 in Dubai, sustainability will become an even more significant part of the national conversation with radio using its influencer platform to inform and lead both local and national conversations on the topic.
By way of context for the market, nearly all Irish adults listen to audio content every week, with live radio being the most popular choice. So, here’s four key trends identified by IRS+ that will dominate the radio world in 2024.
Artificial intelligence. AI is poised to play a major role in radio broadcasting in 2024, beyond just content ideation. AI can be used to automate a variety of tasks, such as playlist generation, ad targeting, and even show production. However, it will be important for radio stations to strike a balance between automation efficiency and the personal touch in order to maintain the authenticity and community connection that they have with their audiences.
AI-powered ad targeting will become more sophisticated. Radio stations will use AI to target ads to the most relevant audience, based on data about listeners’ demographics, interests, and purchase history. This will help advertisers to reach their target audience more effectively and efficiently.
Radio Creativity: In 2024, radio creativity will be driven by two key trends:
The first of these is the rise of branded content advertising: In recent years, there has been a growing trend towards branded content for advertisers on radio. Listeners trust their favourite presenters to endorse products and services in an authentic and natural way. We expect to see advertisers continue to take advantage of this trust in 2024.
Secondly, it will be about the idea first and embracing a media agnostic approach. IRS+, for example, no longer answers briefs just for radio. In 2024, we can expect to see a rise in popularity for the idea first, media agnostic approach, where creating great content that can be distributed across multiple channels, including radio, podcasts, and social media takes priority.
Radio stations that embrace these trends and get more creative with their content will be the ones that thrive in 2024.
On Demand: Radio listeners will expect even more on-demand content and personalisation in 2024. This means that radio stations will need to continue to invest in digital audio platforms and develop new ways to deliver content to their listeners. Podcasts will continue to grow in popularity, and podcast advertising will become even more important for businesses looking to reach a targeted audience.
Radio stations have a deep understanding of their audience and will play a key role in helping businesses reach the growing podcast audience.
Here are some specific predictions for radio and podcast advertising in 2024:
Radio stations will invest more in podcast production, producing their own and partnering with creators to bring new and exclusive content to their listeners.
They will also experiment with new podcast advertising formats, subscription and pricing models to bring the best value and most effective advertising to clients.
Advertisers will recognize the value of podcast advertising and invest more money in this growing medium.
In addition, radio stations will use their knowledge of their audience and their experience in creating audio content to help advertisers create ads that resonate with their target audience.
Sustainability: In 2024, radio stations will be at the forefront of adopting and promoting sustainability. They have a unique opportunity to use their platform to educate and inspire their listeners.
Here are some specific predictions 2024:
Stations will look to invest in renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, to reduce their carbon footprint.
Like most businesses they will look to reduce their waste by recycling, composting, and using less paper.
They will look for ways to specifically promote sustainable businesses and partner with them on initiatives to promote sustainability.
They will use their platform for good producing content such as interviews with experts, segments on sustainable living tips, and music with positive environmental messages.