The Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) brand could be not long for this world.
CEO of SCA, Grant Blackley, has issued his strongest hints to date that he wants to see the company operate under the Listrn branding, to better reflect its current output and focus.
Currently, Listnr is the broadcasting company’s digital arm, including the app of the same name, which houses its podcasts, digital music stations, news, radio catch-up shows and local information and guides.
Blackley has rescturcuted the busines and repeatedly stated that Listnr sits at the core and centre of the business, driving everything it creates, innovates and puts out.
It seems Blackley may now want to take that one step further, telling the press on Thursday that he’s “socialising” the idea of turning the company into Listnr.
“Look, one day you might even see us no longer called SCA. You might see us called Listnr,” he said.
“I could see a world where in actual fact, if it is in the centre of our universe and it is driving all of our growth ambitions and it houses all of our product, maybe there’s a natural extension there. Who knows?”
Pressed on a timeline for the rebrand, Blackley insisted it was simply a “thought bubble” at this point in time.
“I haven’t socialised it with anyone, other than myself and the board,” he said.
“I say it because that’s how deeply we feel about Listnr. And I actually feel the the rebranding, in the event we ever did do it – you must remember, seven, eight years ago, I inherited the ‘A’, and I think it was a rainbow and that was our logo,” he said of the previous merger between radio giant Austereo and television broadcaster Southern Cross which happened in 2011. “But it was sort of two things, and there were some stars in there too from Southern Cross, so it was a mismatch. We changed all that to what you now see as the SCA position.
“But fundamentally, if Listnr is at the core of our business, maybe we should start to think about it – but, no, I haven’t socialised it with our board and I don’t have a timeline or agenda.”
Beyond the rebrand, Blackley also flagged his international intentions for the platform, saying the amount of interest overseas is “nothing short of outstanding”.
“I’d like to see Listnr at some point move from just an Australian model to possibly an international model,” he said. “We’ve built the infrastructure, unlike many of our peers, and unlike many in the world… We own and operate the product. We built it from scratch. We envisioned it. We built it because we couldn’t find a product like Listnr anywhere in the world.”
Blackley pointed to radio and audio rival ARN’s iHeartRadio platform, which it licences from the US – something he has frequently mentioned as SCA “owns the code” to Listnr, unlike ARN’s arrangement.
“There;’s really only one other, which isn iHeart, globally, and iHeart has a product, it’s a radio product that has morphed into developing podcasts etc., but we started with an audio entertainment brief, not a radio brief and not a podcast brief – it has to be all encompassing, so hence the house of Listnr built.”
He added that in terms of scaling Listnr internationally, he has to now decide whether SCA (or Listnr) does this solo, or with a partner.
“The boundaries are beyond our shores, which is pleasing, and a lot of the content will travel, and the stories will travel, and the unfiltered nature of stories will travel really well, as we can take that to other places and I think expose that to people and that’s the ambition. So we don’t put too many caps on where it will be. We put certain measures as to what we need to achieve to justify our investment when we keep hitting or beating those goals on the way through.”