Citadel Media's decision to drop the ABC Radio Networks name wasn't the only change the radio network had it mind. The newly branded network is about to launch this week (April 20) a new strategy that organizes its programs and inventory by lifestyle clusters, allowing advertisers to target consumers beyond the traditional age and sex ratings.
Based on research from several sources such as MRI and Nielsen Claritas, as well as focus groups, Citadel came up with 11 lifestyle clusters, such as Mobile Moms, Young Urban Professionals, and Community Influentials to describe the audiences reached via its programming. For example, some of the programming that appeals to Mobile Moms includes Citadel's Female Connection RADAR-rated network, Kidd Kraddick in the Morning or Radio Perez, while Community Influentials can be reached through Citadel's Talk programming such as ABC News Radio or The Mark Levin Show.
"When we get RFPs from an agency, the focus is on the demographic. It's one dimensional. This is a way to position our inventory differently and provide a deeper view of the consumer. We're trying to get beyond a CPM audience," said Mike Connolly, senior vp of sales for Citadel Media. "Hopefully, this will generate more revenue for us."
While network radio's flat growth outperformed all other radio sectors last year, first quarter revenue sunk 15 percent, according to figures from Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. a firm that tracks radio revenue. "I've not seen a single up budget; I've seen some budgets down 25 percent," Connolly said. "Budgets are down even for companies that are doing well. They aren't spending as much because they don't have to."
Citadel presented the new concept and research to its senior sales management and last week, to its entire sales department. Next, it will begin the rounds at clients and planning groups.
"We're trying to change the thought process. It's partly our fault for not selling a deeper conceptual sell. We think this will be more effective and bring it in line with the way advertisers are thinking about their customers," Connolly said.