Social platforms have changed TV and radio, say media bosses

Not having a comprehensive social strategy can be damaging for a media company

Social media has changed the face of traditional media through unprecedented levels of engagement, according to television and radio chiefs in Dubai.

In an interview with Gulf Business at the launch of a partnership between their two companies, TV group OSN’s chief executive David Butorac and Arabian Radio Network chief operating officer Steve Smith highlighted how social media platforms have altered the way they work.

“The days of us hurling tablets of stone in a broadcast are gone,” said Butorac.

“We need to engage with our customer and – importantly through social media – we need to listen to our customer to understand what it is they want.

“Social media gives us a great opportunity to engage with the consumer, which is the goal of any business. That engagement gives us new ways of reaching people and a much better line of communication with our customers.”

Social platforms have also given companies enhanced commercial avenues, according to Butorac, who pointed to OSN’s recently launched Saturday Night Live Arabia as an example.

“Promotional clips for the show had more than two million hits on YouTube within two days,” he said.

“The opportunity for us to reach an audience that is not currently engaged or subscribed to OSN is a huge marketing opportunity.”

Smith added that the consequences of not have a comprehensive social strategy can be damaging for a media company.

“Without it we really are not delivering on what the listener wants,” he said.

“At ARN we work on a full circle of engagement with our consumer. For instance one of our stations might be talking about school fees or something topical. They will then be able to cut a quick video and put it out on social. Social is then able to comment back and we’re creating content as we’re going. We can then set the appointment for them to listen in to the station again after the next ad break.

“This circle is crucial not just for engagement but also to our content creation. Listeners want the full circle and without it we wouldn’t be providing something they need.”

The new partnership between OSN and ARN means that listeners can now access ARN’s nine stations through the television network.