Australian Radio Network

Transforming a radio network into a digital publishing business

Despite being Australia’s largest collection of commercial radio stations, ARN’s digital platform was lagging behind the well commercialised content publishing platforms of rivals such as SCA and Nova. The publishing mechanism was tedious, content syndication was non-existent and the platform was under-commercialised.

As such, ARN sought to reshape their online content offering and transform their business into a digitally savvy online publisher. With a relatively short development window of five months, we set ourselves a modest goal of implementing a content publishing platform for their 11 stations and growing the traffic and content engagement rates by 20% YOY.

With 80% of traffic being driven to ARN’s network of 11 sites via social media, much of which was coming from mobile phones, we undertook extensive planning phase around a mobile-first approach to defining the user experience. Site stickiness and easily transitioning the user to related content was also key. Developed on open-source CMS platform, Umbraco, the site architecture revolves around a shared content repository that content producers can publish to and from. This facilitates huge operational efficiencies and has transformed the content production team into a highly nimble publishing outfit.

"The platform has finally seen us match our survey results in terms of delivering market-leading entertainment and revenue streams."

Nick Condon - Head of Digital Technology, ARN

Below are some key creative highlights of the ARN platform development:

Deepend Australian Radio Network

Mobile First Approach

Extensive planning was completed, focused through the lens of a “mobile first” approach, enabling the creative to work seamlessly across platform and device.

Deepend Australian Radio Network

Prototyping Delivers Rapid Returns

Prototyping in Webflow allowed for rapid visualisation of key elements such as tagged/relational content and user notifications to drive engagement.

Deepend Australian Radio Network

Efficiencies in Design

With each station having its own branding and points of difference, allowances were made in the design process to ensure that the parent site components could be easily and simply extended to future site roll-outs.

Technical architecture of the solution was developed to streamline both ongoing development and operational efficiencies.

11 Stations, 1 Solution

12 Stations. 1 Solution.

Significant production efficiencies were achieved by focussing on the development of a core ‘vanilla’ instance of the site, which was then rolled out each of the 11 stations.

Content Syndication Drives Operational Efficiencies

The content production team now create “smart” content objects which are tagged and syndicated to a selection from ARN’s stable of stations. Depending on administration access levels, these objects are then automatically published or placed into a workflow queue for appropriate authorisation.

Ad Content

Increased Commercialisation

The site is structured to allow for sponsoring of specific sections, pages, units and modules This, along with elements such as relational tagging of content modules, has driven increased commercialisation of the site, facilitating things like full section takeovers with sponsors content and ad units, all of which can be trafficked and served by their chosen media partners.

Implementing a data strategy was key to monitoring site performance and driving ARN’s team towards better commercialisation of the site:

Data Strategy Summary

Qualitative Insights Shaped the Concept

Our audience research showed the emotional states of children being an important consideration for the creative execution. “Children are advised of their condition and that the cure is a challenging 10-week journey – this is a daunting experience for anyone. We needed to provide a balance of support, play, challenge and reward”.

Mobile Social

Mobile & Social First

Traffic benchmarking revealed that 80% of site traffic was driven via social media posts linking through to articles. This served to shape key elements of UX and design, such as standardised sharing mechanisms.

Domain Authority Review

The Importance of Accessible Content

A comparison of ARN’s domain authority against that of its key publisher competitors showcased the importance of ensuring content accessibility and drove a user experience/design based on relational content objects.

Results

300% uplift in the key metrics

The platform has seen over 300% uplift in the key metrics of: unique browsers, site engagement and pages viewed, massively exceeding our initially goals and, most importantly, beating its rival SCA in every key digital metric for the extended survey period.

80% reduction in production costs

and development timeframes for each subsequent site.

Sophisticated content syndication workflows

Content syndication between sites has dramatically streamlined production efforts, leading to a far more nimble and adaptive publishing model

Awards

Amy Awards

Best Website or Online Service - Entertainment and Media

Winner

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