The Australian Radio Network

Transforming a radio network into a digital publishing business


Despite being Australia’s largest collection of commercial radio stations, ARN’s digital platform was lagging behind the well commercialised content publishing platforms of rivals such as SCA and Nova Entertainment. The publishing mechanism was tedious, content syndication was non-existent and the platform was under-commercialised. As such, ARN sought to reshape their online content offering and transform their business into a digitally savvy online publisher. In order to do this, they would not only need to reshape their online content platform, they would also need to look to transform their workforce accordingly. With a relatively short development window of 5 months, we set ourselves a modest goal of implementing a content publishing platform for their 11 stations, and growing the traffic and content engagement rates by 20% YOY.


With 80% of traffic being driven to ARN’s network of 11 sites via social media posts, much of which was coming from mobile phones, we undertook extensive planning and documentation around a mobile-first approach to defining the user experience. Site stickiness and transitioning the user simply to another related piece of content was also key. Developed on open-source CMS platform, Umbraco, the site architecture revolves around a shared content repository that content producers can publish to and from. This facilitates huge operational efficiencies, and has transformed the content production team into a highly nimble publishing outfit. 


Reduction in workflow and content deployment times have seen huge operational efficiencies brought to ARN. As a result, they have been able to reduce overtime publishing staff to a nation-wide skeleton team consisting of only three people over holiday periods, with no discernible difference to the volume and rate at which they are publishing content to the platform. The platform has seen over 300% uplift in key metrics of unique browsers, engagement with the site and pages viewed, massively exceeding our initially modest goals and, most importantly, beating its key rival SCA in every key digital metric for the past three survey periods. 

12 stations, 1 Solution

Huge production efficiencies were achieved by focussing on the development of a core ‘vanilla’ instance of the site, which was then rolled out with minimal styling differences for each of the 11 stations. This has seen an 80% reduction in production costs and development timeframes for each subsequent site
80 %
reduction in production timeframe / costs

content Syndication

Content production team now create smart content objects, which are tagged and then syndicated to a selection from ARNs stable of 11 stations. Depending on the level of authorisation of the editor, these object are then automatically published or placed into a workflow queue for appropriate authorisation. This has dramatically reduced inefficient repetition of effort between different stations content teams and ensured the content publishing process is far more nimble and adaptive.


Standardised sharing mechanisms applied to all content objects on the site to improve social sharing


Tagging of content objects facilitates related content lists, and drives site stickiness, ensuring interact with more content and stay on the site for longer

Increased Commercialism – Sponsored Content and Ad Units 

Part of the transformation of the business to digital content publishers has been an increased focus on commercialisation of the site. This extends to the periodic insertion of ads into continuously lazy loading of content pages, as well as easily facilitating full section take overs with sponsors content. All of which can be trafficked and served by their chosen media partners.