t: 08 8121 7926 w: isrnetwork.net w: in-storeradio.com.au
Whilst out and about last month, we got talking to Zinedine, the man behind two Adelaide startups, the ISR Network and In-Store Radio. After giving us an introduction to his projects, we had a few questions to ask about his experiences. •••
What first started you thinking about in-store broadcasting as a startup business? I was a manager for a supermarket chain and in my time there I got tired of hearing the local easy-mix radio station every day and started to imagine what my own radio station would be like if I had one. After mulling it over, I began to wonder why the chain I worked for didn’t have their own radio station. And then, after a bit of research, I realised there could be a big opportunity for instore radio in retail.
So whilst chain stores manage their in-store messaging, smaller stores generally rely on free-to-air? That tends to be the case, yes. There are single-store owners who have their own in-store radio, as it’s affordable to do. I think the problem is that many businesses just don’t see the benefits of having in-store radio. The best way to illustrate the problem with that is to draw from my own experience managing a store. Ads for Coles and Woolworths would be on the free-to-air station played where I worked, promoting products that were cheaper than we were selling them in the store. You wouldn’t let another business stand at the front of your store and try to steal every customer from you with a better deal, so why let them do it inside your store using your radio?
How does it work? How would a store take part? It’s very simple. All a store needs is to buy our music player, plug it into their music system and from that moment on they have their own in-store radio station. We help with any issues along the way, from helping with mandatory music licensing through to extra cabling. Usually there are no issues and the process is actually very simple.
So the technology side of it is all fairly straightforward then? As far as the customer is concerned, yes. It’s a plug-and-play solution so, once the media player is plugged in, ISR manages everything from music selection - based on customer preferences - to any advertising scheduling and audio production for the ads.
What have been the milestones for you in getting everything up and running? What were the key moments? We are still a young company so there are not that many milestones yet! I spent about a year and a half setting this up as there were so many things that needed to be done. When the time finally came there were a few weeks where nothing really happened and then we got our first customer, an IGA supermarket. That was a satisfying moment for me. Although it wasn’t the beginning, that felt like the start of the business for me.
And what about the challenges? All the setup! I didn’t realise in the beginning just how much more to it there is than just playing music for a business. There are many music licensing laws and issues facing a provider that we just didn’t realise. The right software and hardware was also a big issue for us when we first started. We tried a huge number of different software options that were available on the market. Testing all these out was very time consuming, but obviously it was important to get the right one. Just as a TV or radio station can’t afford to be in a position where a broadcast might fail, we had to be certain a customer’s station was guaranteed at a software level to broadcast without issues.
Are you getting interest from outside Adelaide, now that things are rolling? Surprisingly enough, we’ve had some interest from a group of convenience stores in South Africa! For the time being, though, we’re focusing on Adelaide first, to get off the ground, and then Australia.
What other projects are you working on at the moment, next to this? When we first started out we called ourselves the Independent Supermarket Radio Network and we had a specific focus on supermarkets. As
we went into it, it became clear this might be larger than simply a supermarket-only service, and so we recently changed our name to InStore Radio PTY LTD. The Independent Supermarket Radio Network very soon will become the ISR Network. One of our services is acting as an agent for our customers in organizing advertising for their in-store radio, so that there’s a cash incentive to take part as well. This is mainly aimed at supermarkets, so the ISR Network will soon get a makeover and a new website and this business will be responsible for media management for those clients who want the service. We may also expand the options for advertisers who want to advertise not just in our stores, but also in other stores like K-Mart, Woolworths and, for instance, in-store digital video advertising. We’ve a bundle of options to look at.
Anything else in the pipeline you’d like to mention? Any news coming in 2013? It’s not confirmed yet but we may be looking at an option where our customers can manage their own in-store radio via an online account. That’s about all I can say about it at the moment, but to find out more, we can be contacted for a chat - our email and telephone number are at the top of the page. ••• radelaide.me
Adelaide startups ISR Network and In-Store Radio, interviewed and featured in radelaide.me magazine issue 1