The pandemic has hit many areas, including the media. The lockdown affected the work of many media outlets, but at the same time opened up new prospects, for example, for radio. Yuri Kostin, General Director of GPM Radio and Vice President of the Russian Academy of Radio, spoke about how the level of radio listening has changed over the past six months.
In his interview, Kostin gave a preliminary assessment of the radio advertising market. In his opinion, Moscow and the regions will recover quickly and instead of the expected 70%, the losses will be only 25-30% as compared to the previous year. However, this would not have happened if the government, regional authorities and commercial companies had not united and developed supportive measures for small and medium-sized businesses that were very close to bankruptcy. For example, the GPM Radio holding provided 80% discount on the franchise payment until September. And partners from Russian Authors’ Society have reduced the deductions in order to lessen the financial burden. “We are very grateful to Russian Authors’ Society for this: a friend in need is a friend indeed. And the fact that they did it, taking into account that services grow in price and the authors also want to receive decent royalties, is a very generous and important matter,” says Yuri Kostin.
Paradoxically, the forced lockdown opened up new opportunities for companies: they can evaluate their current business processes and try new operational patterns, for example, online work of employees. Yuri says that during the quarantine, many myths associated with the online format were dispelled, like that employees would have more free time, because they would not need to spend time traveling to offices and back. In fact, the work load has only increased. Alongside, it was difficult to imagine how to restore broadcast formats that have ceased due to financial difficulties. The management of the holding has largely met the franchise partner’s needs, and at present the operation is being restored.
Today, many industry challenges have become apparent that they need to be addressed with digital tools. In particular, the Radio Academy initiated a project to create a radio player operating in the format of an aggregator. With regard to individual domestic initiatives to combat piracy, Yuri separately noted the streaming organized by Online Radio 101.ru. Of course, until it can not be compared with Apple, Spotify or Yandex.Music, but this is a promising Russian story that can be developed.
Talking about plans for the future, Yuri Kostin emphasized the importance of competition in the market: “I like competition very much, I believe that a good product grows out of competition in the end. And I really like smart people who understand the business, even if they are in charge of competing companies. Competition as a challenge for us is the only way to achieve any goal. I hope that the pandemic will not prevent us from offering the market a new synergistic product and being pioneers in everything.”