Digital and in particular mobile have been a boom area for Southern Cross Austereo in the past 12 months, with the company now reaping the rewards of social media and data investment according to its head of innovation Clive Dickens.
In the past year the company, which owns national radio assets including the Today Network and Triple M as well as regional TV stations, has more than doubled its digital audiences and is now the 16th largest online publisher in Australia with 151,234 unique daily browsers, according to the latest Nielsen Online report for March.
“Digital is the fastest growing part of SCA’s business,” said Dickens. “Is it big enough to be spun off as a stand-alone business yet? Probably not. But in terms of where new revenues are coming from it’s definitely where the future lies.
“There’s work to be done because people see us as a TV and radio business, and it’s a surprise to them we’re such a big digital publisher. We’ve worked hard on it as a focus. In the year I’ve been here we’ve moved from outside the top 100 publishers to 16th, and we are growing each month.”
While the brand’s flagship radio stations took a hit in the turbulent first survey of the year, with 2DayFM slipping from first to last in the Sydney FM market, the network claims to lead the way in both social media and digital engagement from fans for radio properties.
The latest Nielsen figures show while it has just one twentieth of the market leader News Corp Australia, which has more than 3m UBs on all devices, it is the tenth in mobile browsers with 101,699, while news has 1.28m unique mobile browsers per day.
“The size of the mobile screen is a chalenge for a lot of publishers,” said Dickens. “But with radio in particular it doesn’t matter – a good audio ad will always cut through.”
According to the Nielsen data SCA also has the highest percentage of daily users coming via mobile of any Australian publisher, which Dickens said shows the work his team has done in the last year to build their social presence and push people onto their own assets.
He said: “The old model was for people to spend a lot on search engine optimisation and other things to get people to these sites, but today social media data and strategies are the best way for us to drive engagement.
“We find people are coming to us because of social sharing. Friend recommendations are the new search engine for a lot of people.”
He added the company had been looking to monetise the audience with more than just display advertising, and had been pushing into native advertising with a number of high profile partners.
“The stuff that’s been most effective for us and the advertisers are the real native pieces,” he said. “We’ve got a huge campaign running with iSelect at the moment creating owned and earned media with their investment, and we’re running it right across social media platforms as well.
“We get talent like Jules Lund and Sophie Monk (2DayFM breakfast hosts) going and filming content specifically for these campaigns.”
You can see the SCA presentation of the latest Nielsen digital data via this link.