To every general / local / national radio sales manager this phrase is more like a four letter word. Direct Radio marketer / agencies love it.
I don’t like remnant radio inventory. I prefer preemptible radio inventory. You may be saying, well it is the same thing. And for the most part you are correct. Let’s break it down.
Remnant inventory is defined as advertising spaces that the media company has been unable to sell that is capable of being preempted. Making it preemptible inventory.
The word remnant comes from the word remainder; leftover or scrap. It calls to mind leftover carpet or lumber that was unused from a project you did around your house. Remnant radio inventory is often last minute since the station/media group is holding out until the last minute to sell it at rate card or close. The reason that general/local/national sales managers don’t like remnant is because they have to admit that their team didn’t do their job that week/month/quarter. Or at least didn’t do it to their satisfaction. They have to admit that they were not able to sell every spot locally or nationally so they had to fire sale it at a deep discount.
The positive side of this is they sell inventory that if not bought, goes to waste usually with a house ad, public service announcement or other “filler” non-revenue generating content. The down side is they had to rush to sell it and the agency or client had to rush to fill it hopefully having spots on hand to provide. And the agency or client most likely had no choice of where the space was purchased. However if you get used to buying remnant inventory this becomes a very workable situation.
The word preemptible comes from the word preemptive taken as a measure against something possible, anticipated; preventive. It calls to mind someone who knows the ebbs and flows of their particular business and plans accordingly. Talking to a manger about preemptible inventory is them taken a preventive measure to ensure that their entire inventory in any given week/month/quarter is sold. It is finding out how much on average do they have available during each week/month/quarter. What percentage of that can you take for your clients? Showing the manager that you are there to help him sell his inventory not just buy it from them last minute when the back is against the wall. Committing to them that you as a buyer understand their side of the business and what they need to accomplish and helping them get there.
The positive side of this is the inventory is never going to go to waste. Because you and the station have planned what/where/when and how that inventory will go. What clients it will run for, the daypart each client will get, the day/week each client will get and the spots needed to execute everything. You planed the media using the station as a resource not as a auctioneer. Learning the ups and downs of that particular station/network and putting a strategic plan on how to benefit your clients with that information. Obviously it is not guaranteed to run just like remnant if someone is willing to pay more it will be bumped. The downside to this is you will have to help your sales people get more clients. You will have to get on sales calls to show clients that you and your team planned media and know markets and know trends. Things you should have been doing anyway.
For all intent and purpose remnant inventory and preemptible inventory is the same exact thing. You can plan remnant inventory, you can buy preemptible last minute. They are different ways to say the same thing and accomplish the same goal. I just prefer to anticipate and take measures against something possible. I’ll leave the scraps and leftovers others.