Radio closed 2013 with an air of real unease towards its future. Talent changes, rebranding of stations and extended holidays of talent all left the industry wondering how survey 1 of 2014 would turn out. Safe to say the survey results haven’t disappointed…
Radio has always been the medium that engages audiences and offers them a voice! Through this listeners make connections with the talent they tune in to and this survey release has really shown us how deep that connection goes. As an industry we learnt a lot about our medium and radio feels as though it has had a reinvention. Change is good, it allows things to remain fresh, and something that is vital for an industry with as much history as radio. However we should never stop learning about something we think we know, this is something the recent survey has taught us.
It’s important to look at how each network is performing. Radio audiences have the ability to fluctuate survey by survey, so aligning with a network can offer our clients much more stability.
Unfortunately the loss of their strongest Sydney talent has deeply impacted SCAs audience across the day, and set a national tone for SCA who will probably agree that they haven’t recorded their strongest survey. Excluding Brisbane, where B105 and 4MMM performed well against their key demos, the Today network has suffered. SCAs Head of Content mentioned when presenting to OMD Sydney recently that they were expecting a soft survey (talking specifically about Sydney), but said the background team at SCA is the real powerhouse, and that they have the knowledge to take their stations to the top. MMMs have had an unstable survey with raises and losses across the board, however their coverage of AFL and NRL leagues, which is one of their stronger properties, is due to return and with it will hopefully provide some stability.
The newly re-branded Nova Entertainment Group have done exactly what they went out to market with prior to the results and have been the overall stable network. They have not recorded any major losses in audience against their key demo however may be a touch disappointed that they haven’t taken more of 2day’s share in Sydney. Smooth FM remains a relatively efficient add on to buys targeting that p25-54 audience in both Sydney and Melbourne.
The re-branding of Sydney’s Mix to KIIS has paid off for ARN, as they have celebrated with both KIIS and WSFM both taking the number one FM spot against P10+. ARN won the battle of the marketing teams with a huge push to promote and inform their audience of the changes at the end of the year. It will be interesting to see once the marketing budget runs out if they can continue their strong hold of the Sydney market. WSFMs increase in audience is a result of the gap that Mix left in the marketplace. Based on the success of their rebrand in Sydney, it will be interesting to see if they roll the KIIS format out nationally. Looking at ARNs national performance, they have gained a strong older audience across the day in both Sydney and Melbourne. This strong performance was a result of the resilient Gold / WSFM platform. Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth recorded a less significant change which will be regarded as a positive by the network.
2GB has remained the #1 most listened to station in Sydney against p10+. This is a juggernaut that is unlikely to change any time soon, which is a testament to them understanding their audience and effectively delivering on this.
Melbourne’s 3AW, which has long been Fairfax’s golden egg, hasn’t recorded a good start to the year. Unfortunately for them the FM stations have taken the favour of the older 40-54 audience. We don’t see this trend continuing and believe 3AW will bounce back based on its audience’s loyal following and tried and tested programming.
Overall there has been significant change. ARN seem to be the winners of this survey’s battle but the war is long and both DMG and SCA will be hot on their heels.
As the normality of scheduling kicks in with events such sports coverage across the year, it will be interesting to see how the audience fragments to get their fix.
OMD Predicts that the radio landscape is likely to change in survey 2 and those following it. I still believe there is more change to come as all stations find their place in their market, and as this happens the #1 spot in most markets will need to be shared by a few networks this year.