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Future of Media: radio 'petri dish', cookie deadlines, news makes its case

The Drum's senior reporter and media correspondent John McCarthy rounds up the latest media trends and developments. Also available in your inbox every Thursday as The Drum's Future of Media email briefing. Sign up here.

This is an extract from The Drum’s Future of Media briefing. You can subscribe to it here if you’d like it your inbox once a week.

John McCarthy here with your weekly Future of Media briefing.

Christmas approaches. Uncertainty is in the air. Will mum squeeze a turkey dinner through my letterbox? Will we host a snowy, distanced BBQ? Or will it be cold McNuggets in a retail car park... again?

I don't have the answers.

But in the following weeks, I'm going to try and wrap up 2020 for you media-fans. We'll have a solid idea of how we can expect the industry to play out in 2021.

And if the unthinkable happens, and we do get to dine with our families, rest assured, The Drum'll have lots of insights for you to read at the table, even if it is just to avoid talking to aunt Meridith.

How radio rode the waves

Bauer Radio's Ben Cooper, group music and content director, described 2020 as the organisation's 'digital petri dish' - it's quite a line.

Radio is fighting attention battles on several fronts while making the transition to digital platforms. It's a tricky time. Media consumption changed drastically and proved to be the ultimate stress test of radio.

After all that, Cooper was enthused by how audiences gravitated around its presenters, "radio offers company and a connection to the outside world" that streaming and podcasts don't, he asserted.

That's the pitch you can expect radio to take forward.

And if Spotify pushing into podcasting (successfully apparently) wasn't enough, YouTube's realised that it's got all the makings of a good audio app and is trialling audio-only ads.

Why advertisers should support news

Jo Allan, managing director of Newsworks, argued that media buyers should consider investing in the news. Last week I quizzed advertising alliance Ozone Project which represents the UK's top publishers - the tools are being built.

Allan laid out a passionate case for an ad spend injection into the news in 2021. Yes, that's her job. But she made a convincing case.

Beyond all the brand purpose, good-for-society, keeps news free, pays poor journos like me, lines, she makes a cold, hard claim: "[When reading news] the brain is more actively engaged and there is more likelihood of key messages being encoded into memory."

Got an opinion on this? Email me.


Twitter got Robert Kelly, (the dad from that BBC News interview with the adorable interrupting children), to showcase its latest reply restriction feature.

It's a good ad. That's the segment. Watch it.

Third-party cookies

Are you one of those smart people that understand cookies and digital advertising?

We explored how Google's solution to third party cookies is going.

Don't be too attached to that 2022 deadline...

Other stuff

Well, that’s this week’s round-up. If you missed the last one, I have summarised it here.

Got a tip, a correction, a complaint, want a chat? I'm at or @johngeemccarthy on Twitter.