How do radio stations make their profit

media : "Who will grab the coal?"

Be honest, you've already done it. You've also called the radio or television to win money. You guessed words, determined noises or something, and paid 49 cents every time, right? Better not work out how much that already makes up.

Berlin has two radio stations that organize larger competitions, 94.3 R.S. 2 and 104.6 RTL. R.S. 2 asks its listener once every hour about the "mysterious noise". Anyone who is switched to the show gets fifty euros and is allowed to guess. The moderator politely asks a harmless question, and we stick to the loudspeaker: Is it that? Oh, the moderator sighs: "No, SORRY, NOT, but stay tuned, try again, will you?"

At RTL you can guess what a person said. You hear a sentence in which a word has been replaced by a beep. The other day there was a sentence from Michael Schumacher: "Here it is certainly more the (beep!) That comes into play here." Anyone who registers on the RTL website with their personal data becomes a "Web VIP" and can listen to the sentence again. RTL has also given a landline number to play along, which only costs the local fee. But the landline number was unfortunately not in use, as often as I tried. So of course I called the 0137 number, which costs 49 cents per minute. I'd rather not tell you how often.

RTL receives up to 60,000 calls per day, depending on the current jackpot. There are around 30,000 on average for the “mysterious noise” from r.s.2. The broadcaster does not make a profit with it, says Stefan Hampe, the program manager of rs2, but it saves expensive self-promotion: “The income from the phone calls is a contribution to cover the marketing costs.” Since July they have around 150,000 euros taken by the calls, and the same amount distributed again in profits.

The number of calls can be increased considerably, knows Goldmedia, a market research company in the media sector. Goldmedia is currently researching the use of TV and radio offers that encourage telephone participation. Sweepstakes are such typical “call media” offers. One is still experimenting with call media on the radio, but the boom is unmistakable, said a Goldmedia employee at the media days in Munich to the interested audience.

If you take Call Media's radio and television sales together, it becomes clear that really good money is being made here. Last year sales increased to a total of 320 million euros. The television channel 9 Live deserves special mention, with sales of almost 79 million euros. Emerging from the former "women's channel" TM3, 9 Live achieved profitability through restructuring into a "quiz channel": in 2003, 29.3 million euros were earned. According to its own statements, the station pays out one million euros in winnings every month.

9 Live's quiz shows are quite unusual indeed. We are happy to show pictures where something is wrong that can then be guessed. For example, two pictures of Paris Hilton were shown with a flaw in the top. Thousands of euros were exposed as a win, next to the figure of 15,000 euros was displayed as a possible jackpot. Moderator Robin Bade showed himself to be a varied speaker: he asked heartbreakingly for calls, demanded and pleaded, was shocked, enthusiastic and then almost resigned again. "Who will take the coal with them right now?"

A siren howled, a clock ticked loudly, now Robin held his face in the camera, always next to the two Hilton photos. "I want you to try it now!" Robin whispered, looking mesmerizing into the camera. Now he even increased the profit to 1500 euros. "Hello?" Roared Robin. "You have to call now!" I did. A friendly female voice said: "We would have liked to see you on the show, but unfortunately it didn't work out."

This is how it works at 9 Live. The station speaks of "television of the future", which it is already implementing - "close to the audience and live". If you extrapolate the official figures from the fourth quarter of 2002, the number of calls received daily on 9 Live ranges from 750,000 to a million. Each call costs 49 cents, at least. The Austrians even pay 70 cents. The telephone companies collect only a small fraction of these amounts.

The call media market has not yet been exhausted. Goldmedia has determined that there are still widespread reservations about the expensive 0137 numbers. Almost three quarters of those who do not use these numbers consider them "dubious". Goldmedia therefore advises providers to actively counter the “acceptance problems”: “Transparency of the offers must enjoy top priority.” If that happens, total sales of one billion euros per year can be achieved with call media offers.

Again I turn on 9 Live. This time the names of five European capitals are to be guessed from a pile of letters. The young moderator is already completely exhausted with his nerves because of the people who can't find out. “What else should I say?” He asks desperately. “What did Desirée Nick say about Dolly Buster? She said: 'At least I won't bite men in the balls.' "Then the moderator returns to his actual topic:" My face !! Can someone grab a fucking atlas and look up the capitals ?? "

9 Live calls something like this “interactive live television entertainment” and sees itself as a “pioneer of the new generation of transactional television channels”. The way leads “to customer television. Spectators become customers. ”9 Live press spokeswoman Sylke Zeidler would rather say it a little more personally:“ We put on a program at eye level with the viewer, we are like a family, where things can be fun. ”

Seen in this way, the viewer gets the program he deserves. And it's all legal, of course. In the spring, the Munich public prosecutor's office dismissed advertisements against the television station 9 Live on charges of manipulation, fraud, organizing illegal gambling and deceiving viewers, 9 Live reported. It is allowed to continue calling.

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