Opus is to create a new radio sales house to sell airtime across
the burgeoning digital radio platform.
Opus is part of the GWR group and has a 63 per cent stake in Digital
One, the licence holder for the ten new digital stations. It will sell
at least three of them including Classic FM and GWR’s new classic rock
Opus is also expected to sell airtime on the new 24-hour news service,
which will almost certainly be provided by ITN. This will be confirmed
at the end of this month, along with the brand names, marketing and
positioning of the new channels.
Digital channels on the network that have yet to be confirmed include a
dance music channel, a plays, books and comedy channel (expected to come
from Channel 4), an adult contemporary channel and Talk Sport, the
24-hour sports channel.
Virgin, Classic FM and Talk Radio had their analogue licences
automatically renewed by the Radio Authority when they took up places on
the network. All three will officially roll out on the digital airwaves
on 15 November.
Classic FM will continue to be sold through Opus, Talk Radio will use
Impact - which will be launched at the end of this month - and Virgin
will continue to use its in-house sales team.
Although Digital One envisages using one sovereign sales house to sell
across most of its channels, this will be less likely across the bigger,
more established stations.
Digital One’s chief executive Quentin Howard said: ’Selling digital
airtime is an educational process when it comes to deciding on the
different approaches to selling digital radio. This is the right time
for sales people to secure sponsorship deals and start building
relationships with clients and agencies.’