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Michael Smith
July 21, 2016

In order to deliver the best results for our clients, a big part of our job here at MediaSmiths is staying on top of what’s happening in the Australian media landscape, on both a national and local level. Though the various online channels have tended to attract the headlines of late, radio remains a key part of the overall mix for advertisers, and is set to remain so for some time to come.

The local Sydney radio market is the nation’s most fiercely competitive, and also one that rewards careful study as a leading indicator of where the industry is going generally. With that in mind, the GfK radio ratings are always worth diving into throughout the year in order to get a feel for which way the wind is blowing across the country’s five main metropolitan markets.

With that in mind, we’ve pored over recent GfK Sydney Ratings Reports and pulled out three interesting takeaways, each of them applicable in a wider national sense.

  1. Digital Radio Continues to (Slowly) Gain Ground

Though free-to-air DAB+ digital radio is still restricted to the five metropolitan capital cities, it’s showing continual take-up where it’s available. The total of digital radio listeners nationwide has risen steadily from 2.8 million listeners in 2014 to a reasonably healthy 3.5 million listeners in 2016.

Sydney represents an impressive percentage of that overall total with 1,096,000 digital radio listeners in 2016, an increase of 43,000 compared to the previous year. Digging into that total a little further, there were 790,000 simulcast station listeners, and 484,000 DAB+ only listeners in 2016.

With a total addressable market of around 4.25 million in Sydney, it’s clear that digital radio has a lot of headroom to grow into over the coming years. The take-up so far, though hardly explosive, still represents a decent start given the relative recency of the arrival of DAB+. Advertisers may have to wait a few years to be able to tap into the full power of digital in this medium, however.

  1. Star-Power and Radio Talent Remain As Important As Ever

Radio has always been a personality-powered medium, and recent figures from GfK show that there are no signs of that trend changing. 6/10 Sydneysiders polled said that they choose their favourite station largely because of personality-driven content. A whopping 8/10, meanwhile, agreed that they preferred a presenter with a strong sense of humour.

Though we’ve no hard data about similar figures relating to advertising in isolation, it seems a safe assumption that personality-filled, humorous spots are equally likely to find favour with the same listeners.

  1. Facebook and Instagram Are Pulling Away From the Social Media Pack

When it comes to social media, recent GfK figures confirmed a trend that many are suspecting is accurate across a much wider board — Facebook and Instagram are steadily pulling away from the chasing social media pack.

Individual station listeners were asked if they engaged with social media on a daily basis. With highlighted results based on the popular local channels of ARN, Nova, SCA, and MML, the findings were broadly consistent — Instagram was at least twice as popular as Twitter, with Facebook miles out ahead of both.

To take just one recent example: 922,000 ARN listeners use Facebook daily, compared to 379,000 who use Instagram, and a mere 79,000 who are on Twitter.

Given that Instagram itself is a Facebook property, and the ever-increasing sophistication of Facebook as an advertising and marketing medium, there could be some hard years ahead for Twitter if these trends continue.

Put Your Campaigns In the Hands of Channel Experts

At MediaSmiths, our team is stacked full of experts in particular channels such as radio, who are also able to take a holistic view when putting together wider campaigns. You’ll benefit from both in-depth niche knowledge and a bang-up-to-date overview of the media landscape at large.

Get in touch today to discuss how best to master the mix and sensibly allocate your budgets across radio and other channels!

About Michael Smith
If you need to know more about Michael, you can ask pretty much anyone. After more than twenty years in Australian media, it can be hard for him to make it from one side of a room to another – without bumping into someone he’s worked with along the way. Michael has built a steadfast reputation in media planning and brokering, which has been built over decades of growing small businesses into large companies.

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