It’s good to see the HD Digital Radio Alliance loosening restrictions on HD2 format selection for 2008 and making plans for “monetizing” those channels.
The group announced the changes this week as it re-chartered itself.
Member stations committed $230 million worth of ad time for 2008. That time runs across all day-parts and is not pre-emptible, I’m told.
More of the focus in 2008 will be local stations that are broadcasting in HD-R, giving them back 20% of that time to promote their HD2 channels, local partnerships and events. (Those stations have to do that on their own time at present.)
The alliance is still working out the “creative” for 2008 ads, but it sounds like they’ll focus more on stations and what they’re doing and HD Radio in general, less on national retailers.
Stations in 2008 can accept limited sponsor mentions per hour (think of underwriting announcements in the noncom world) and name channels after partners, like “The Ford Channel,” for example.
Easing up on the “no ad” restriction for HD2s is a big deal. In its announcement the alliance quoted CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason as saying such flexibility is key.
Alliance President/CEO Peter Ferrara tells me the alliance would like to see stations approach local Ford dealerships and, as part of a sponsorship, require the dealers to play the HD2 channel in stores and use HD-R “hang tags” in cars.
The idea is to create an incentive across all stakeholders: stations, car dealers, retailers and manufacturers, doing what the alliance has been doing on a national level.
Program consultants have told me some stations are reluctant to promote HD2 channels on their main channels for fear of losing that listening to the HD2s, which are not yet accounted for in ratings.
This, and the fact that no revenue has been coming in from HD2s, have been factors. It’ll be interesting to see if these alliance changes get those local markets engaged as they budget now for 2008.