Netflix Top Competitor is Sleep: Who Do You Compete With?

Netflix Top Competitor is Sleep: Who Do You Compete With?

by Andrew Curran

In the midst of binge watching a series on Netflix, sacrificing sleep along the way, remember what CEO Reed Hastings says. Netflix’ real competitor isn’t HBO, Amazon Prime Video or YouTube. It’s “sleep”.

Netflix has grown quickly. So has HBO. And several other streaming services and cable networks. Hastings feels that this proves his main point that, “Home entertainment is not a zero-sum game.”

This is incredibly empowering. It changes focus from obsessing over what a “competitor” is doing. Knowing the real competition helps the entire company focus on how to engage and delight users.

Facebook isn’t worrying about the small amount of time people spend with Twitter or Snap. They are focused on the time spent watching TV and playing video games. As a result, Facebook has a goal to be more compelling than other things you could be doing with your time.

Here’s the point: Anything that takes your audience away from listening to your station is a competitor.

Radio’s Real Competitor

Radio listening depends on the audience first being available to listen. If a listener isn’t available, how can they choose your station? Right? But it doesn’t depend on whether or not they choose to listen to a radio station. Yet the radio ratings system only rewards stations for listening compared to other radio stations.

In today’s world, that doesn’t make sense.

Other audio services benefit from all additional listening. Perhaps fortunately for them, most digital audio platforms aren’t measured against one another. The only thing that matters to them is increasing users (cume) and how much time those users are spending with their brand (TSL).

But in radio, broadcasters focus only on how stations perform against other stations. In the bigger picture, those stations aren’t the real competition. This short-sighted focus limits radio’s ability to consider other, real competitors.

But streaming audio is competition, even though they aren’t rated. So is streaming video. And podcasts. Anything that takes away a quarter hour costs ratings.

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The dial is now infinite, yet radio remains focused on other radio stations. We’re playing a zero sum game because the ratings system dictates it.

The real competition for radio in general, and your station in particular, is the same as the competition for other brands. Like Facebook, Uber and Netflix, radio has unconventional competition: Top of Mind Awareness (TOMA).

The TOMA Challenge

If your brand isn’t thought of first and most by the core target demo, your days could be numbered.

In a world of personalized playlists, voice command and infinite choice, each brand must have a clear value proposition. That’s what makes people find your brand when available to tune-in. Otherwise, a potential listening occasion goes elsewhere. Sometimes it’s to a measured competitor. Sometimes not. Either way, you miss out on potential ratings building listening.

The importance of Top of Mind Awareness in a digital world is everywhere. It’s even evident in your grocery list. When is the last time you wrote “cereal” on a list, then wandered down the aisle trying to figure out what to buy? That’s usually not how it works. The list reads “Grape Nuts” or “Cheerios”. A cereal brand relying on in-store impulse buys has a big problem. That brand needs to get on a list. That means they must be top of mind.


Develop a strategy to increase TOMA. The landscape is well defined. Radio’s best listeners listen very little.

Listeners turn on the radio 31 times per week and spend about an hour per day listening. That’s just four quarter hours per day. That means that even the best listeners spend 90% of their time away from the radio.

The enemy is not other stations.

By focusing on the core audience and thinking about their life away from the radio, there are countless opportunities to be part of their life. That includes social media, email, text messaging and coupons. It extends to external events, word of mouth marketing, special offers from advertisers and direct mail. And it includes a mobile app, workplace calls, and much more.

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The outcome of these efforts?  Top of Mind Awareness will increase, the brand will be more famous and you will win more than a fair share of those 31 listening occasions each week.

Author: Andrew Curran

Andrew Curran is the President and COO of DMR/Interactive, the leading strategic marketing agency for radio and digital audio platforms. DMR/Interactive provides data analytics and integrated marketing strategies that include precision-targeted, multi-contact personalized campaigns across mobile, digital, social, telephony, direct mail, e-mail, word-of-mouth and database marketing services. For more information, visit DMR

Following programming roles with ESPN Radio and iHeart Media, Mr. Curran joined DMR/Interactive in 2004, was named COO in 2011 and President in 2013. He has been a featured speaker at numerous industry conferences including Nielsen Audio’s Client Conference and Hispanic PD Clinic, the Country Radio Seminar, CMB Momentum Summit and the Worldwide Radio Summit.

Curran was named a 2012 Radio Ink Rising Star of Radio and also serves as a board member and past president of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Cincinnati, OH. Curran graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston College and received his MBA from Thomas More College. He resides in Cincinnati, OH with his wife Liz and their four children: Anna, Bridget, James and Claire.

Email Andrew
Follow on Twitter: @DMR_radio

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