Friday, 25 September 2009

The case for event ownership versus sponsorship

I went to Classic FM Live at the Royal Albert Hall last night. As a classical music novice it broadened my horizons and was fun.

From a business point of view it was another affirmation of the good sense of media brands putting on their own events as opposed to sponsoring or being media partners. Here is a list of things that it achieved for Classic FM, few of which would have been attained to anything like the same degree had they simply been the sponsor.

* Strengthened their audience relationship. The radio presenters were all there, Simon Bates hosted the event, a few in-jokes were shared, all of which made it feel like a club that the audience belonged to.

* They came across as a classical music authority, an organisation with weight in their world who had access to the top stars. Both this and the above point are really important when radio stations are under threat from online services like Spotify.

* They had complete control of the event and used it as a platform to showcase other things they get up to like their charity work with kids.

* The event was of course another way for them to make money from their listeners and another channel for them to sell to the event sponsor Grant's Whisky.

Grant's also seemed to be getting good things from the event.

* They were the only brand involved.

* Simon Bates said nice things about them and they seemed to fit well with the audience.

* They ran competitions in the event programme.

* They did a tasting during the interval.

When you combine Classic FM Live with the radio station, the Classic FM magazine and a good online presence you see what a commercially astute media business they really are.