Commentary by Peter Saxon.
Following GfK Survey 5, I spoke with a number of CDs and PDs. One thing they all agreed on was the extraordinary growth of the cume. They were thrilled, not just for their own stations, but for radio as a whole.
In effect, Duncan Campbell, ARN CCO, noted in its press release that 87% of commercial stations had increased their number of listeners. Last week, CRA, which now stands for Commercial Radio and Audio, confirmed that radio listeners nationwide had increased by 900,000, year-on-year.
When I called Sue CarterCD to GOLD104.3 she said, “You know, we were literally discussing the phenomenal number of radio stations in Melbourne right now with a cumulative of over a million. I remember the days when we were like, OMG, there’s two stations in one million. Now there are five. Sydney has three.
The chart below from Survey 5, 2022 shows the eight Australian stations with over 1 million listeners.
Even Nine Radio’s content manager, Greg Byrnesraved about the rise of his network. “What’s really nice today is that this network rollup figure (in survey 5) of over two million, surpasses the figure from survey 7 2020, which was at the height of COVID when we were making extraordinary numbers.”
I say “EVEN Greg Byrnes” because until recently major stations such as 2GB and 3AW were only talking about “audience share”, which values the time spent to listeng (TSL) on numbers of listeners, as the true benchmark of a station’s effectiveness in commanding an audience.
Some cynics (he says looking at himself in the mirror as he shaves and dictates to Word) may suggest that this hitherto fierce defense of the “share” was because if cume was the measure by which the stations were ranked in the polls instead of the share, 2GB and 3AW would find themselves relegated to 6e or 7e place behind stations such as GOLD, FOX, NOVA, KIIS and smooth.
While this long-standing discourse on the merits of stacking versus sharing may seem academic, the move towards stacking as the new king of radio ratings, in my view, is an important shift in direction. And, certainly, a change in my own position in this debate.
Simply ranking stations by audience share as the primary outcome of each survey only tells the public and the advertising industry which station has topped the position, but nothing says whether radio, as a whole , expand or contract as a media option.
As the table below shows, the vast majority of metro stations in each city saw an increase in listeners between last year’s 5 survey and 2022’s 5 survey – mocking those who believe radio is dead.
Competition for market share should not be between radio stations, first and foremost. The real competition is between radio and other media. First, let’s bring more customers (listeners and advertisers) to the radio, then use “sharing” as an internal competition for the industry.
Ben Lattimerresponsible for programming Nova 96.9 and 91.9 and national broadcasts, attributes the increase in listeners to the increase in listening opportunities.
“Now you can listen to radio on a lot more platforms than you could before. So, you know, smart speakers. Penetration continues to increase. Um, and while people use smart speakers for a variety of things, radio is pretty essential. And people are also learning that their smartphones are also radios. I think people are not only listening to more radio, but more radio stations. This is one of the main reasons why we are seeing this increase in stacks.
Having worked with the automotive industry, I know that Toyota dealerships are keen on winning the Dealer of the Year award for bragging rights among their peers. But what really interests them, the auto industry and the public, is how many Toyotas have been purchased versus other makes and models and whether car sales, in general, are up or down. decrease. These are the real “monetary measures”.