Video didn’t kill the radio star

by Boomtown CEO, Glen Meier

In 1979, the Buggles released the hit single ‘Video killed the radio star’, a commentary on the changing world of technology. It was chosen to be the first song to be played on MTV, which also happened to be the world’s first music video broadcasting channel.

By late 2019, we had witnessed 40 years of extreme changes and exponential evolution of technology and the media. Fast forward to October 2020, and wow, look how the world has changed in the past 10 months.

Remember that old internet-based video conferencing platform? What was it called again? Oh yes, Skype. This time last year we were all trying to do business via Skype without the line breaking up. How many of us knew about Microsoft Teams six months ago? Most of us could never quite get video conferencing right without huge outlays of tech equipment.

For face-to-face business meetings, we were catching flights, jumping from plane to plane. This week Joburg, next week Cape Town. And staff working remotely was only a consideration, and remained that – a consideration – for some time in the future.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives and business greatly over the last seven months …. and has probably fast-tracked digital business by at least 24 months.

What was an occasional option, video-conferencing that is, has become a necessity. E-commerce has exploded to become online-everything. Digital business has become an extension of our lives, ingrained in every fibre of our DNA.

In August 2019, I was of the opinion that the end was in sight for traditional agencies. What I meant by this was, that if digital wasn’t naturally part of everything you did, your business would be dead.

Today, I know digital is now a ‘passport factor’, with deep digital ingrained into every part of your business. We have to think digital-first, and mobile-first, because it’s in the hands of over 50 million South Africans.

And the key to building successful brands now that digital is the passport is in creating compelling content and engaging in meaningful conversations with consumers. Strategic, creative partnerships will win – those who listen, who understand consumers, and uncover the human truths to connect.

Aha, technology is not king here because automation can’t think or engage the consumer. At the end of the day, creative thinking will remain because – as human beings – we’re wired to out-think and out-strategise to find the most creative business solutions.

Engaging content really is king, with quick quality video and audio content production being essential. Podcasts, radio streaming, vodcasts and online TV demonstrate that 41 years after the Buggles had us singing their number one hit, the video and radio stars are still alive and well.

Perhaps in a different guise, yet contributing effectively to bring us entertainment, education, and brand engagement.

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