GFK Radio Survey Reports
Newstalk leads during crisis– Metro radio survey 2, 2020 update

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Angie Smith
April 16, 2020

Audiences turn to Radio for the news

Who would have thought as we entered 2020 that not only as a nation but as a planet we would be in lockdown due to a silent virus that has brought the world to its knees?

As we isolate, whether that be alone or with our families, we are all turning to news to understand the abundant changes coming through from both federal and state governments on an almost daily basis.

It is clear from the results of survey 2 released today that radio has been a very important media channel for audiences to stay up to date with this news in a trusted, brand-safe environment.

Newstalk networks around the country have seen an increase in share as we all tune in, whether that be on the commute to and from work (if you’re still able to do that) or working from home. 

Below we break down the numbers for each market and note the interesting changes across stations, demos and dayparts.

In Sydney, 2GB sees growth across all dayparts

For its 127th consecutive survey, 2GB took home the number 1 overall position in Sydney with a very convincing lead of 14.8 share points an increase of 1.6 from the last survey.

Interestingly Alan Jones breakfast show grew by a huge 3.1 share points to 17.9 taking number 1 spot in this daypart, as did Ray Hadley in mornings by 1.3 to 18.8 also leading in mornings.

Deb Knight in afternoons increased share by 1.8 to 11.4 tying with Smooth FM, Ben Fordham increased in Drive by 0.3 to 10.5  leading the commercial stations in this daypart and John Stanley in evenings increased 2.8 share points to 18.1 leading convincingly here. 

Smooth FM re-takes top FM spot

It was a very close race for the FM stations with Smooth FM taking out the top FM spot at 9.0 share points followed closely by WSFM at 8.9 and KIIS at 8.5.

Overall Smooth FM has the most listeners with 1,040,000 listeners an increase of 46,000 from our last survey report.

Reviewing the DAB stations we note that the leading station for all people 10+ remains The Edge Digital with 120,000 people followed by Coles Radio with 74,000 listeners. It is noted that there was a significant drop in listeners for The Edge Digital since the last survey, however.

Audiences turn to news in Melbourne

Understandably, what we’ve seen in Sydney is also being reflected in every other market around the country. In Melbourne NewsTalk juggernaut 3AW increase its overall share by 0.6 share points to 13.9 this survey but also notably across every daypart across the day.

Interestingly, sports channel SEN has also seen notable share increases across each daypart this survey period.

3AW led the breakfast session with an increase of 1.4 share points to 17.3 with its closest competitor being Gold FM increasing 0.2 share points to 9.4.

Throughout the day 3AW again led in mornings with a 0.3 increase to 15.5 followed by Gold FM with 12.5 share points an increase of 1.2 over survey 1.

The all-important drive session was again led by 3AW at 11.9 but second and third place was a tightly followed by Nova 100 at 10.3 and Smooth FM at 10.1.

Nova 100 had the largest audience in Melbourne with 1,103,000 listeners.

DAB audiences increased this survey by 99,000 listeners. The leading DAB station is Coles Radio with 99,000 followed by GOLD 80s with 74,000.

Number spot a tie in Brisbane

A small drop across the leading commercial stations sees a tie for number 1 spot in the Brisbane market.

Both Hit 105 and 97.3FM ended this survey with a 10.5, leap-frogging Nova 106.9 who has dropped to a close second at 10.4.

Hit 105 leads convincingly in Breakfast at 11.8 followed by 97.3FM at 10.4.

The station with the most listeners is Nova 106.9 with 598,000

Reviewing DAB+ in Brisbane, the station with the highest audience numbers in Brisbane interestingly is Coles Radio with 45,000 listeners.

Fight for top spot in Adelaide

It was an extremely tight race in Adelaide for number 1. Mix 102.3 retained its number 1 spot only just, with an 11.9 share. Closely followed by Fiveaa who jumped a massive 3.2 share points to 11.3 and Cruise 1323 who increase a half a point to 11.1.

Fiveaa’s increase would have been attributed to the large surge across every daypart. Fiveaa led in breakfast with 13.9 share points, surging 3.4 points since our last survey report, followed by Mix 102.3 at 10.6 share points.

Mix 94.5 continues lead in Perth

Mix 94.5 leads in Perth as it increases its share position by 2.5 points again to 12.6. Nova 93.7 and 96FM tied at second place with a 12.0 share. Mix 94.5 saw a sizeable increase in share across every daypart with the exception of evenings.

Radio Advertising in Coronavirus

There have been a lot of terrible news stories throughout recent days however we have seen so many positive news and stories emerge as well. We as humans have shown we are willing to support and help each other in incredible ways.

When it comes to radio advertising, as we have seen throughout history, research has demonstrated that during severe economic downturns marketing investment is a powerful advantage.

Brands that have the means and are able to stay the course and continue to tell good stories, hold or increase their ad budgets and adapt will reap the benefits, increasing market share in their category and recovering faster.

While many brands may be reigning in their spend, those brands that are most prominent will see the greatest growth post the economic downturn as is demonstrated by articles recently written by Prof Mark Ritson such as this article published in Marketing Week.

The COVID-19 crisis has meant that CRA, in consultation with official research provider GFK, has had to pause surveys 3, 4 and 5 due to travel and safety concerns in administering and collecting the survey diaries.

We’ll be back later in the year with a wrap-up of future radio results as and when they return. I look forward to being able to share this data with you later in the year when we know more and hopefully a return to a semblance of normal life for all.

 In the meantime, take care, stay safe and healthy, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with us with any thoughts, questions or if there is anything we can do to support you.

Source : GFK Survey 2, 2020, Marketing Week

About Angie Smith
Before founding independent agency MediaSmiths in 2007, Angela had worked on the agency, broadcast, and publishing sides of the media industry and has an incredible insight into how each world works. Since then, Angela has worked across numerous well-known brands covering the whole spectrum of media, and leverages this know-how with her experienced wider team to get the best results for clients.

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