Hazlitt scraps digital in new vision for GCap

Fru Hazlitt, chief executive of GCap Media, has announced plans to scale back the radio group’s digital interests and scrap its controversial two-ads per break policy as part of her new strategy for the group.

The plans will also see the group sell off the Xfm regional analogue licences in Scotland, Manchester and South Wales, which only launched in November last year, and the closure or disposal of digital stations, theJazz and Planet Rock.†

It has also agreed a deal to sell its stake in Digital One to Arqiva, the transmitter and broadcast company, for a nominal fee and a reduction in transmission costs. The group will scrap all of its digital stations except Classic FM.†

Hazlitt says that the group would like to withdraw from digital audio broadcasting (DAB)†completely but can not due to transmission licences that run until 2016 and because Ofcom as renewed its FM licences on the basis it continues with DAB.

She adds that the plans aim to create a “thoroughly modern media company” and are “radical but realistic measures” that should improve profits and create sustainable revenue growth. She adds: “GCap will be a leaner and more dynamic company focused on maximising the revenue and profit potential of five key brands on FM and broadband, the platforms that we believe consumers want and which offer the greatest opportunities.”

The group will now focus on develop the Capital, Choice, Xfm, Classic FM and The One Network on FM†and broadband and has announced deals with Nokia and Apple to work on new devices to support the strategy. it has already developed a new application that will stream live radio and sell music to listeners through the iPod Touch.Hazlitt describes the launch as a “world first”.

Meanwhile, Capital 95.8 will increase its advertising inventory to up to nine minutes of advertising per hour from six minutes at breakfast and five minutes across the day. The controversial strategy was introduced by former chief executive Ralph Bernard in 2005.

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