Think about this. When you need to do something, you don't necessarily want to do it. However, when you want to do something, you likely have an interest and desire to do it. Consider this in the context of online audio.
We recently lost a broadcast client for our online audio ad insertion services. The good news is that this client had no issues with the product or service. "Please do not construe this…as an indication that we are unhappy with services provided."
Ok, our reputation remains intact.
Now the bad news. The reason for the cancellation is that this client has determined they don't need to insert ads on their streams, so they won't. Whether or not the AFTRA status has been altered in any way does not matter. This is an issue of want vs. need.
I humbly submit that a broadcaster's needs are best served by the desire - the WANT - to deepen the relationship with its audience and to offer advertisers new and effective ways to connect with that audience. What benefit is created for either group of constituents when the broadcast content and commercials are simply simulcast online? At a time when consumers and advertisers have more choices than ever before, broadcasters should WANT to invest time and resources toward a strategy of better serving both.
Consumers will continue to migrate. Advertisers will continue to pursue media investments that are more targetable and accountable. Ignoring their WANTS will inevitably impact your NEEDS.
The profit potential for online audio may be a debate today. Interestingly, that debate revolves mostly around the music royalty structure, and in this situation the royalty expense will not be altered. However, it is a proven fact that advertisers follow consumers. So, if you WANT to be viable tomorrow, you NEED to be investing in your long-term strategy today.
This is not an indictment of the entire industry. There are many broadcasters charging forward. In fact, we recently spoke with a Canadian broadcaster, where there is no AFTRA requirement. "We know we don't need to insert ads but we would like to talk with you because we want to."