Google FM

There’s an interesting company called dMarc with a nice little product for radio stations. Stations sign-up to their service and basically outsource any spare inventory they have at the end of each day to dMarc. dMarc then combine all this spare inventory and sell it to big clients that little radio stations can’t normally reach and then automatically insert all their ads into Squirrel FM’s schedule and sends them a cheque.

The reason it’s such a nice little idea, is deep down people who run radio stations don’t actually want to sell any advertising. They just want to make programmes and get audiences. And really there’s nothing wrong with that, in fact it’s a good thing. You should stick to what you’re good at and let other people with other skills do their thing.

Taking sales directly out of creative radio stations could even be a good thing. It’ll reduce the cost base significantly and simplify the commercial opportunity. Using something like dMarc will give Programme-Managers a simple system that allows them to evaluate instantly their programming actions against the revenue that is (or isn’t) coming in.

Now, of course, you could say that this is something that should happen in regular radio stations with existing sales teams. However, especially in the local space, actual sales activity has little connection with audience volumes it all depends on the ability of the sales team. The result is that it relieves all pressure from the programming team because their activities have little impact on revenue. They don’t have to be interested.

dMarc just takes this a stage further and removes the actual local sales team. If they’re not interested why pretend? Just outsource and provide measurable targets for programming to deliver on.

Anyway, I digress. The scary thing, well for traditional media, about dMarc is that its been bought by Google and the even scary thing is that they’re about to roll out their new service. The other interesting thing that they’ve done is started in virgin territory by selling space on XM (digital satellite in the US).

The shocker for the established media is that it re-invents their model on a much smaller cost-base. As their technology focused they’ll also deliver web-based buying solutions to customers whilst big media are working out who from the office has to trek over to DFS.
As with all things technological its ‘disruptive’, there are benefits in the new order, but to get there you’ve got to change, and quickly.