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Promotional ideas and technique. Always radio, always positive.

The rise of mobile

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How often have you heard the line “on tv, on radio, online”? We’ll here’s a campaign promoting content on a different mix of platforms.

These promos are for the BBC’s coverage of the Africa Cup of Nations. They’re on air in West Africa and, as you’ll see and hear, they promote coverage on radio, online and mobile with a strong emphasis on the latter.

Thing is, in much of Africa, online means mobile. A recent report picked up by guardian.co.uk highlighted some of the most popular mobile services. Top of the list was Facebook. The BBC was in the top 10 in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Namibia and Zambia. And the mobile web is growing fast in Africa with page impressions are up 374% in a year.

So what does this mean for radio?

Well, the BBC’s own Hausa language radio service, popular in Northern Nigeria, already has more than 5000 members to its new Facebook group. This from a largely rural part of a relatively poor country where fixed broadband access is out of the reach of the vast majority of people.

In the coming weeks I shall be spending some time in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Nigeria and will aim to bring back insights from the broadcasters there who are aiming to make the most of mobile.

But for now here are two tiny insights which go some way to suggest how important mobile has become to life in these countries:

In Nigeria, one radio station manager told me recently that “some people would rather go without a meal than go without their mobile”.

Then, while travelling across Ghana on National Farmers’ Day (we should have one of those) I was listening to a radio phone-in celebrating rural life.

The presenter took a call from a woman who said she had lived without fresh water for seven years. But it was the presenter’s back-anno that truly summed things up:

“…and if you’ve lived for seven years or more without water then text us…”