From December, Southern Cross Austereo is rebranding its local radio stations either under its TripleM or Hit Network brands.
Local stations using the Sea, Hot and Star brands will take on the Hit branding while SCA’s ‘LocalWorks’ stations will take on the TripleM name. There will be 43 stations under the Hit brand (up from seven currently), and 35 under the TripleM brand. SCA says this will create the two biggest commercial radio networks in Australia.
The “cohesive rebrand” is designed to streamline its brand portfolio and create a stronger national presence by “enhancing the value of its brand assets”. It comes two years after SCA rebranded its former Today's stations under the Hit Network brand.
Bringing a national brand to TripleM and Hit Network will benefit SCA, its listeners and its advertisers in a number of ways, SCA CEO Grant Blackley tells AdNews.
Because SCA tends to have two stations in each market, one which skews to an older male audience and one that skews to a younger female audience, it's a “natural progression” to consolidate those and create a national footprint for TripleM and Hit Network, according to Blackley.
For the first time advertisers will have the “luxury” of a national network they can run campaigns across, he says.
“For the first time we will formalise both [national and local selling arrangements]. Until now we've had metro and regional, and it's been hard in the eyes of buyers to buy across 64 different local stations with different brands. Now with a national footprint it will be much simpler,” he says.
“Once you have measurement and branding, selling on a national footprint will be more appealing to advertisers. They've never had that luxury before. It has been hard in the past for national advertisers to run across all those stations. They would effectively have to create 43 different types of creative. For example if we were running an exclusive promotion with Justin Beiber on the Gold Coast, we would have kept that to Gold Coast stations, but now we can run it across all Hit stations. There's a level of equality of access.”
Blackley was careful to emphasise SCA's commitment to local programming and content saying all local attributes for things such as breakfast and drive shows will remain unchanged.
“We are cognisant of the localisms … none of that will change,” he says.
There are a few exceptions which will retain their local branding because it was deemed to have such strong resonance in the local, competitive market. Sea FM Gold Coast and Sea FM Gosford will take on board the Hit network look and feel but will retain the Sea FM name. Townsville’s 4TO, Gosford’s 2G0, Newcastle’s KOFM and the Gold Coast’s Gold FM will also retain their original station name but take on TripleM's colour palette.
Branding and local marketing campaigns will roll out at the end of the year to communicate the change to listeners. Blackley tells AdNews the investment in marketing is “not insubstantial” and will run across TV, radio, digital, and social channels including its own assets and beyond.
It carried out a brand audit following the affiliation deal with Nine broadcast regional TV in Queensland, NSW and Victoria in July, because the deal means it is also changing its corporate and consumer brand in a lot of its regional locations.
“We're going into the new year with fresh branding. Pre-Christmas and out of survey [period] was right time to refresh,” he says.
The next radio ratings are due out tomorrow (27 September).
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