Radio as a marketing channel

What is a 30 second radio commercial?

This is generally a 30-second commercial designed to engage sales, idea’s, information and concepts for retail outlets and some brands distributed via the ‘air waves’ of radio stations on AM or FM. Now this is extending to Spotify, Pandora, and Apple.

(*digital radio is now available in all Cap cities, but up take in receivers is low. Digital gives ‘both’ AM and FM players a level playing field in terms of quality that the signal is broadcast on)

What lengths can a radio commercial be?

It does change by stations in Australia, but generally, 80-90% of all commercials are 30 seconds long. The other durations of commercials are:

15 second and 60 second

All other recognised length are generally negotiated with the individual stations. They can be:

05 second radio commercials
10 second radio commercials
15 second radio commercials
30 second radio commercials
45 second radio commercials
60 second radio commercials
90 second radio commercials

Most non-conforming radio commercials (ie commercials outside the standard 30-second time frame) are charged at a higher rate. Eg a 15-second radio commercial is charged at 75% of the 30-second rate.

Most stations have a 5 and 10-second ads that are generally referred to as 'promotional liners' and not commercials. These are generally heard in the context of:
Coming up next weather for XYZ Solar Hot Water systems, why pay more? Call 1800 123 456

Approx. rates for 1 x 30 second recorded commercial spot on various radio stations

Sydney

Rate per 30 second ‘recorded’ commercial

2GB

$550

Kiis FM

$700

2DAY

$350

Triple M

$400

NOVA

$650

Smooth

$300

2CH

$200

2UE

$200

2SM

$100

Melbourne

Rate per 30 second ‘recorded’ commercial

3AW

$550

FOX

$550

GOLD

$350

Triple M

$400

NOVA

$500

Smooth

$300

MIX/Kiis

$300

SEN

$300

3MP

$100

Magic

$100

Brisbane

Rate per 30 second ‘recorded’ commercial

97.3

$550

B105

$350

Triple M

$350

NOVA

$400

4KQ

$200

4BC

$200

How are voices selected for radio commercials?

Generally, there is a hard core group of ‘great voice over talent’ that are currently employed on Australian radio and that is approximately 200 voices. They are defined as ‘professional’ voice over artists and derive the majority of their income from straight voice-over work on radio, or TV. 

See our friends at radioCommercials.com.au for samples:

http://www.radiocommercials.com.au/talent.php

How many radio stations are in Australia?

Currently, we have over 250 commercial licenses, but it does change from year to year as more licenses are released, but if you go to the industry body that represents all commercial radio stations in Australia, you can get valuable information:

http://www.commercialradio.com.au/

How much does a radio commercial cost to make?

Let me break that into two areas. If your commercial is to be played in a metropolitan market (All Capital Cities) the standard cost for a 30 second commercial to be:

Written, edited, approved by client, sent to production, voiced, music bed added if required, mixed and then submitted to the radio station, approximately $400 - $600

If the commercial is to be made and played in non-metropolitan markets (provincial and regional markets), the same commercial is approximately $200 - $300

How much is it to advertise on radio in Australia?

Ahhh my best and brightest, the 64 million dollar question. The simple answer is, it varies and it varies a lot. Influencing factors include:

  • What state are you in

  • What station has the best format

  • What station rates the highest

  • Variations between number of minutes of commercials a station run per hour
    This can vary from 4 minutes [ 8 x 30-second ads] to 14 minutes [28 x 30 sec ads]

    But generally all these factors come down to a ‘thing’ called CPM (Cost per thousand). How many listeners does the station have and how many thousands of people listen.

    'Audience' is measured in a number of ways on radio. 'Share' of audience. This is a percentage of the total 'Time spent listening' to a radio station and its percentage share of the total time spent listening to all commercial radio stations. 

    'Averages' are the average number of listeners per hour to the station, and finally 'Cume' (cumulative audience listening to a radio station). This is the total number of listeners coming in and out of a station every 15 minutes.

    As a general rule, FM stations have a higher 'Cume' than AM stations (FM listeners tend to dial twiddle and flick when commercials come on). AM stations tend to have a higher 'share' of TSL (Time spent listening) as this audience don’t change stations as often.

    I’ll use some very simple numbers to explain the theory.

    Example only

    In a market of 10,000 people (listeners) you have 10 radio stations. The top 3 stations have the following numbers listening to them:

    Station 1 – 5,000 listeners

    Station 2 – 3,000 listeners

    Station 3 – 1,000 listeners

    Cost to advertise:

    Station 1 – 5,000 listeners             $500 per 30 second ad, or $100 CPM (cost per thousand)

    Station 2 – 3,000 listeners             $300 per 30 second ad, or $100 CPM (cost per thousand)

    Station 3 – 1,000 listeners             $100 per 30 second ad, or $100 CPM (cost per thousand)

    What can happen is the top rating station, or best-marketed station can charge more than the average CPM for commercials on their station, so in this case Station 1 could charge $120 CPM and therefore the cost for 1 x 30-second radio commercial would be $600, not $500.

    Station 2 may stay at the average of $100 CPM

    Station 3 may be lower than the average $100 CPM at $75 and therefore the cost for 1 x 30-second radio commercial would be $75, not $100

    What is the difference between AM and FM radio

    Up until the 1980’s ALL commercial radio stations were AM. The word ‘AM’ is derived from the definition of ‘how’ the signal is carried (broadcast) through the air waves.

    AM is defined as ‘Amplitude Modulated’

    FM is defined by ‘Frequency Modulation’

    How many words in a 30 second radio commercial?
    Approximately 75 to 85 words depending on 'pace' of read.
    "Brand" ads may be slightly slower with less words and more defined, 
    "Retail" ads may have more words to create and generate a sense of urgency. 

    How many words in a 15 second radio commercial?
    Approximately 38 to 42 words?

    Can I have any other length radio commercial?
    Yes, but most stations accept 15 and 30 second ads. For more information on whether you can run other length radio ads, please speak to your radio station.
    Other length ads are 05, 10, 45 and 60 second ads.

    Is a phone number one word? 
    NO. For 0412 345 678, it’s in fact 10 words, one for each number
    (zero, four one, two...three, four, five, six, seven, eight)

    Do you recommend using a phone number in commercials?
    Generally, NO. Unless you have a cool number to remember 13 13 13
    To remember a normal phone number, you would have to say twice (‘cause who can ever remember a phone number after hearing once?) and use a lot of words up.

    Should I use my web address in my commercials?
    Generally, YES. People remember web page better than a phone number.

    Is a price one word? 
    NO. For $3,456, it’s in fact 8 words, one for each number.
    (three thousand, four hundred and fifty six dollars)

    How many voices can I have in any ad or commercial
    As many as you want. You normally get charged per voice.
    Our experience shows that 80% of all ads are single voice commercials. 
    The other 20% is made up of 2 and 3 voice ads.

    Do I have to have music under my ad?
    NO. But this sometimes help set the mood and tone for the commercial

    What is a cold ad?
    This is simply a commercial recorded with voice only, and no music or sound effects

    Do radio commercials need to be approved?
    Short answer is NO. There are no statutory approval processes that exist in TV to get radio commercials approved.

     

    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT TV

    How many words in a 30 second TV commercial?
    Approximately 75 to 85 words depending on 'pace' of read.
    "Brand" ads may be slightly slower with less words and more defined, 
    "Retail" ads may have more words to create and generate a sense of urgency. 

    How many words in a 15 second radio commercial?
    Approximately 38 to 42 words?

    Can I have any other length of TV commercial?
    Yes, but most stations accept 15 and 30 second ads. For more information on whether you can run other length radio ads, please speak to your radio station.
    Other length ads are 05, 10, 45 and 60 second ads.

    What’s an advertorial TV commercial?
    This is generally a live TV commercial that runs over 60 seconds. These come from a combination of ‘advertising’ and ‘editorial’. So it is a TV commercial that implies it has station endorsement and is normally hosted by a TV presenter with client.

    Is a phone number one word? 
    NO. For 0412 345 678, it’s in fact 10 words, one for each number
    (zero, four one, two...three, four, five, six, seven, eight)

    Do you recommend using a phone number in commercials?
    Generally, NO. Unless you have a cool number to remember 13 13 13
    To remember a normal phone number, you would have to say twice (‘cause who can ever remember a phone number after hearing once?) and use a lot of words up.
    But in say this, you can put this information on the screen while the voice over is talking about your business.  This is called a ‘super’, or basically the information is ‘super imposed’ on the TV ad.

    Should I use my web address in my commercials?
    Generally, YES. People remember web page better than a phone number. This is normally the last thing with phone and address on the TV commercial.

    Is a price one word? 
    NO. For $3,456, it’s in fact 8 words, one for each number.
    (three thousand, four hundred and fifty six dollars)

    How many voices can I have in any ad or commercial
    As many as you want. You normally get charged per voice.
    Our experience shows that 80% of all ads are single voice commercials. 
    The other 20% is made up of 2 and 3 voice ads.

    Do I have to have music under my ad?
    NO. But this sometimes help set the mood and tone for the commercial

    What is a cold ad?
    This is simply a commercial recorded with voice only, and no music or sound effects

    I hear TV ads are shorter than radio?
    That’s correct. Radio commercials are exactly 30 seconds. TV commercials are 1 second shorted on all length ads. So a 30 second TV commercial is 29 second long.

    Why are TV ads shorter?
    This is so the TV stations can ‘cue’ the commercials easily for on air. So a 30 second TV commercial has 0.5 seconds blank at the front of the TV ad and 0.5 seconds blank at the end of the TV ad

    Are TV ads louder than radio?
    I know you think the TV ads are always louder than the program you are watch and we all reach for the remote. There is new sound level protocol in TV called an OP59 what ‘levels’ the TV commercial out.

    What is OP-59?

    OP-59 has been added to the Free TV OP-48. It refers to a new loudness metering standard. From January 1st  2013, you have been required to meter your TVC to be compliant for both Australia & New Zealand TV commercials.

    Has OP-59 replaced OP-48?

    NO. OP-59 is a supporting practice created by Free TV, to assist measuring compliance with OP-48. This is technical and you should never need to know this as the production company who makes the TV ad will be across all this.

    Do TV commercials need to be approved?
    YES. There is a statutory approval processes that exist in TV called CAD to get your TV commercial approved.

    About CAD
    Commercials Advice provides classification and information services to advertisers, agencies and production houses in relation to television commercials and infomercials. The Code provides that television commercials (including infomercials) and community service announcements must be classified before they can be broadcast, CAD strongly recommends that television commercials are submitted to CAD to be classified before they are submitted for broadcast.

    It is important to note that CAD does not provide legal advice. It is the responsibility of each advertiser and or its advertising agency to ensure that their commercial/s comply with all relevant laws and regulatory requirements.

    For more information about CAD's services, classification procedures and television production guidelines please download a copy of the Classification Handbook.

    CAD requires a minimum of two (2) working days prior to your Required By date. Ads containing complex claims or those requiring a detailed review and infomercials will take longer. Processing of submissions received after 5pm will commence the following day.

    CAD requires a minimum of two working days, upon receipt of all your TVC materials, to process your application.  However, same day turnaround can be arranged through CAD.  An additional 100 per cent of the normally applicable rate will be charged when advertisements are submitted requiring same day classification.  Same day service is in no way guaranteed until it is confirmed by CAD.

     

    Document compiled by:
    Darryl Durrant - Head of Media and Strategy at YESmarketing.com.au Email