Leggendo oggi (30/10, ndr) sul Guardian le dichiarazioni di Andrew Harrison, Ad di Radio Centre, l’associazione ombrello delle radio commerciali britanniche, si imparano molti particolari interessanti sulle modalità di distribuzione dei programmi radiofonici privati nel Regno Unito. Il capo di Radio Centre afferma che la situazione finanziaria delle radio commerciali inglesi non è rosea. Harrison punta su due opportunità che potrebbero ribaltare la situazione attraverso una revisione dei costi attuali, su cui pesano per il 5-10% i costi di trasmissione e per un altro 10% i costi del copyright. Questi ultimi (60 milioni di sterline, pari a 90 milioni di euro), confida Harrison, potrebbero essere rinegoziati verso il basso. Per i costi di trasmissione ci sono speranze perché sul piatto in Gran Bretagna c’è la proposta di fusione tra Arqiva e National Grid Wireless, due service provider che gestiscono per conto dei broadcaster, gli impianti di trasmissione. Un modello di separazione tra offerta di contenuti e controllo dell’infrastruttura di trasporto che gli italiani dovrebbero cominciare a studiare fin dalle elementari. Fino a oggi indipendenti, Arqiva e National potrebbero diventare una società unica, perché la banca che possiede Arqiva ha offerto 2,5 miliardi di sterline (3,75 mld di euro) per National. Ovviamente il merger ha suscitato l’attenzione dell’antitrust e Harrison non nasconde la sua idea: fare pressioni sulla nuova società perché riduca le tariffe praticate sull’esercizio dei trasmettitori, considerando anche il fatto che questo tipo di attività ammonta ad appena il 5% del fatturato consolidato della nuova società che uscirebbe dal merger.
Commercial radio told to seek ‘step change’
John Plunkett – Guardian Unlimited
Tuesday October 30 2007
The chief executive of the Radio Centre, the body that represents commercial radio, has identified cuts in copyright and transmission costs as an opportunity for a “step change” in the industry’s profitability.
Andrew Harrison said in a presentation to City analysts that transmission costs were equal to between 5% and 10% of industry revenues, with copyright costs accounting for another 10%.
“Both copyright and transmissions costs are mid-term opportunities for the industry to step change its profitability,” said Mr Harrison.
“Copyright fees total around £60m for the sector. The current arrangements are up for renegotiation as from 2008.
“This will be a tough negotiation but, from drawing comparisons with how copyright fees are levied in other countries around the world, it may well be an area where we are able to find a more favourable balance.”
Mr Harrison, speaking to analysts at a presentation hosted by Numis, said there was an opportunity to cut transmission costs with the proposed merger of rival transmitter operators, Arqiva http://www.arqiva.com/products-and-services/terrestrial-solutions/broadcast-radio and National Grid Wireless.
The £2.5bn acquisition of NGW by Macquarie Bank, which owns Arqiva, has been referred to the Competition Commission due to monopoly concerns.
“Transmission costs are already in the spotlight with the proposed merger of Arqiva and MGW who are the providers of services in the UK,” said Mr Harrison.
“Since radio is only about 5% of their total business in the UK and with this merger essentially resulting in a monopoly for transmission services for the UK radio industry, we may well be in a good position to drive a hard bargain and strong guarantees if the merger is allowed to go through.”
Mr Harrison told analysts that commercial radio would also be helped by the BBC’s lower than expected licence fee settlement.
“The BBC now finds itself under considerable cost pressure. Their ability to buy the biggest and best in terms of talent is significantly reduced,” he added.
“Most of the on-air BBC talent started in commercial radio before being lured over by big salaries. Our biggest competitor has been tamed – slightly.”
He added that commercial radio would also be boosted by further consolidation in ownership and reduction in regulation – to a greater or lesser extent – currently being considered by Ofcom.
Meanwhile, the Radio Advertising Bureau, part of the Radio Centre, today announced a restructure of its team as part of a drive to ensure “greater customer focus”.
The internal changes will see a strategy consultant appointed to each of the major media buying agency groups the RAB deals with.
Three new strategy consultants have been appointed: Natalie Scott from CBS Outdoor; Mike Holt from independent production company Somethin’ Else; and Nicci Roffey, formerly of News International.
They will join the current team of Judith Spilsbury, Jo Coltman and Mark Williams, who have all moved to new roles as strategy consultants.
“In an age of bewildering choice, advertisers and agencies want to know how each medium can specifically work for them,” said the RAB managing director, Simon Redican.
“Radio is now multiplatform – there are more new and exciting opportunities than ever before and we want to make sure people are considering radio and getting the best out of the medium.”