LEND ME YOUR EARS (AND EYES)
Recently the annual radio survey moved providers to ensure a more accurate representation of listenership was being tallied. Peter Richardson discusses how the shift affected this year’s results and how he thinks the radio industry is performing and evolv
1 What are your thoughts on the latest radio listenership figures?
The latest survey release is the first under a new provider – GFK. This is a major change for the industry as listenership is now being measured for 40 weeks of the year from February to October, compared to the previous two bursts of six weeks each. This will allow more frequent data releases and will give advertisers the most current and realistic understanding of listeners’ behaviour.
There were clearly risks in both changing provider and methodology - moving from surveying a period where stations ran promotions in an attempt to increase their listenership to a continuous survey measure – but the ratings published show a 10.6 percent increase in the number of people listening, a fantastic result for radio.
Evidence of the robustness of both data sets can be seen from the minor movements in share between stations when comparing results to the survey published in October 2015.
2 In the latest figures, many stations lost share among ‘Household Shoppers with Kids’. Is there reason for concern in this category?
Cumes have increased in this category, though not as much as in some of the younger demographics such as 18-34 where we have seen significant growth in listeners.
This demographic has also seen some volatility in station share, largely as a result of a strong performance by The Rock in T2 2015. The strength of the new survey’s methodology is that such ‘blips’ will be smoothed out due to the continuous nature of the data collection.
3 Radio advertising spend continues to grow despite disruption in the industry. What do you attribute this to?
The establishment of a network agency sales team undoubtedly caused disruption last year as agencies worked out how to work in ways that best suit them. Now that things have settled, agencies continue to recognise the strengths of radio in delivering audiences at key times of the day.
4 How is the process of digital integration going for the radio industry? How do you see this evolution continuing in 2016?
Both networks have made significant investments in digital properties in the past year. One of radio’s great strengths is its flexibility and
this has enabled it to adapt to the digital world better than most media. Moving forward, there will undoubtedly be some great opportunities for clients to exploit.
5 What are some standout examples of integrated campaigns?
The way some, more traditional retail clients have embraced integrated activity shows how far this area has developed. For example, Countdown’s ‘Feed Four For $15’ campaign with The Hits drive team utilised Stace and Flynny on air; incorporated video of chef Brett Mcgregor cooking the promoted recipes on The Hits website with a linked competition; used social media to share the recipes; and had The Hits street teams throughout the country handing out ingredient bags. This showcases the way the most traditional of clients can harness radio’s integrated platforms.
6 Radio personalities seem to be very comfortable in the digital space. What is it about working in radio that makes them so adaptable?
Radio personalities have always interacted with their audiences far more readily than their TV counterparts. The great advantage social media has given radio hosts, is a readily available technology for them to use to engage with their listeners. They are doing all the things they used to, but just enhancing and amplifying them using available technology. The networks have been quick to invest in studios to facilitate this.
7 What are your thoughts on the state of niche radio stations?
TRB is privileged to represent the independent stations throughout the country. We believe these stations offer advertisers access to listeners not covered by mainstream radio. These stations are defined either by their location or by their ethnicity and in both cases offer a valuable, trusted service to their communities. This makes them ideal vehicles to deliver advertisers’ messages. As the new survey methodology reaches the entire country, we will start to see an uplift in performance when these stations are included in clients’ schedules.
8 The car has always been a veritable safe zone for radio stations, but this is changing with connected cars. Are you concerned about the impact that this may have on radio?
There have been many new technologies that have been going to ‘kill’ radio, but none have. Radio has always embraced technological change, and indeed utilised it, to create further touchpoints with audiences. Radio is already available to be consumed on streaming platforms and listeners will always gravitate to great content.
9 The overall percentage of Kiwis who listen to radio on a weekly basis has declined over the last decade. Is this a concern? Is there anything we can do to stop it?
As we know, audiences have far more options to consume media than ever before and fragmentation is not a new phenomenon. The latest survey show 77 percent of all people 10-plus listen to commercial radio every week, an increase of 3 percent from the last survey. This demonstrates radio’s continued strength and relevance to Kiwis throughout the country.
"THERE HAVE BEEN MANY NEW TECHNOLOGIES THAT HAVE BEEN GOING TO ‘KILL’ RADIO, BUT NONE HAVE."
Below: The TRB'S Peter Richardson, not to be confused with his doppelganger at Countdown (chef Brett Mcgregor), sees a lot of positives in the radio industry.