Bringing Serbian Film to Radio
It’s not easy to broadcast a film festival over radio airwaves, but that’s just what IREX partner City Radio did for the open-air film festival in Nis, Serbia. City Radio, with the help of IREX Serbia, provided a seven-hour remote broadcast of the festival’s opening ceremony and first day, including live interviews with actors and other participants by using 3G mobile systems to broadcast the event. The live broadcast also attracted new advertisers intrigued by the broadcast’s high-quality sound.
As a part of their Media Assistance Program activities, USAID and IREX Serbia have been actively working to provide support to local and regional TV and radio stations. In an effort to combat falling advertising revenues that threaten media sustainability, USAID and IREX supported City Radio (Nis) in this marketing initiative to offer both its listeners and advertisers a new experience in broadcasting.
August’s open-air Nis Film Festival, with its 44-year-long tradition, was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate a new remote broadcasting technology and create tailor-made promotional packages for new advertisers during the festival. City Radio’s marketing department received assistance that enabled the station to position themselves with advertisers as a creative and client-oriented station, attracting Festival visitors to their booth and successfully driving people’s interest in the advertised brands.
In addition to the promotional activities, IREX organized a practical demonstration of Broadcast Internet Codec (BRIC) technology, developed by American company COMREX. The technology was used for the seven-hour remote broadcast. This high-end equipment provided excellent sound-quality transmission, without the signal drops that are characteristic of Serbian radio, thus creating additional buzz about this live radio event.
City Radio’s shrinking advertising budget was the impetus for the station’s staff to pursue more creative approaches to serve their clients. Because it has been the official festival radio station for four years, City Radio co-owner Ivana Petrovic said, it is important to invest in its participation. “This kind of event is the only way to make any significant ad revenue for a radio station these days,” she said. “Advertisers tend to save their ad budgets for the national TV stations. Thanks to a subgrant received from IREX right before the Festival, we have managed to motivate our sales people and prepare promotional materials for this event.” The station had three well-known Serbian companies sponsor the live radio coverage. The advertisers said they were pleased with the new promotional opportunities.
IREX’s Serbia Media Assistance Program strengthens the capacity and legal environment of media organizations in Serbia through training, technical assistance, and small grants.