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NZME's Dean Buchanan on the latest radio survey results

It's been an interesting year for radio with the battle of Hosking and Henry and wider NZME and MediaWorks competition as hot as ever. NZME group entertainment director Dean Buchanan shares his thoughts on the survey results and offers a few insights into the future of radio.

July 26, 2016 | Sponsored content

What were some of the highlights for you?

Newstalk ZB being number one for Total New Zealand, along with Mike Hosking’s excellent nation leading resultare two key ones. Flava’s performance in Auckland was awesome, and it was great to see listener growth for The Hits, Hauraki, Mix and Flava. Overall it was another excellent survey for the radio industry with the number of listeners increasing again and engagement strong.

The radio figures did not include any references to your digital channels. How are your brand websites and iHeartRadio tracking?

For us digital is a key component of our offering. Delivering content simply on-air is no longer enough. On average each month we have 538,000 people visiting our radio station websites, 24,000 more than our main competitor.

For iHeartRadio we have 476,019 registered users and 635,207 app downloads, 30 percent and 37 percent growth respectively on last year. Our listening hours also increased to just under two million hours in June, a huge 47 percent increase on last year. With 87 percent of listening now happening via mobile, up 36 percent on last year, people are showing us they want to listen to radio, wherever and whenever they want to.

Mike Hosking

How is the battle between Hosking and Henry going? Also, how is the broader battle between Radio Live and Newstalk ZB going?

Hosking is in a realm of his own, dominating at number one for breakfast with an audience of 342,000 and 15.6 percent share for Total New Zealand.

With Newstalk ZB the number one station for Total New Zealand, the show line-up is strong, with almost all shows having more than twice the share and number of listeners than Radio Live’s equivalents. Rachel Smalley (5-6am), Mike Hosking (6-8.30am), Leighton Smith (8.30am-12pm) and Marcus Lush (7pm-12mn) were all number one for share in their day parts.

Recent world events have created an incredibly strong news cycle. In a global news environment, it was gratifying to see Newstalk ZB not only lead the way, but record it’s best result in Auckland for five years. Our talent and news teams who not only journalistically keep Kiwis up to date have the empathy, warmth and skills to highlight the relevance of global events for everyday New Zealanders.

Hip-hop seems to be going through a really good patch in attracting young listeners. What do you think is attracting so many to Flava?

We have some fantastic new shows and fresh line-ups at Flava, spearheaded by The Wake Up Call with Sela, Pua and Tarsh at breakfast. The Flava guys are a passionate team who focus on their audience, and this is beginning to pay off for. There is also a strong music cycle of RnB and hip hop happening currently, with many international artists crossing over into other formats. Flava had an awesome result in Auckland, beating George FM, Radio Live, and The Rock for both share and number of listeners. 

MediaWorks has been trumpeting its lead over NZME in the last few surveys. What are your thoughts on this?

Of over 3.1 million radio listeners in New Zealand, NZME has over 1.8 million. Yes, MediaWorks has more brands and therefore more stations than NZME, however it is the wider NZME audience that an advertiser wants. When you add the power of radio, digital, video, print and iHeartRadio together NZME is a compelling partner for clients and audiences.

Some analysts have pointed out that the 25-54 category has become somewhat antiquated. Do you agree with this? What do you think advertisers should be focusing on these days?

25-54 is not a target – it’s a family reunion. There are so many ways an audience should be segmented to ensure an advertiser’s audience is being correctly targeted, wherever, whenever and on whichever platform they choose to engage with. These are all integral parts of the equation that NZME considers when pulling together client campaigns. We help our advertisers to think about where their audience are and what are they listening to, watching and reading.

Any other thoughts on the future of radio?

With digital listening advertisers are able to target listeners as never before – via location when audiences are out and about, or with Registered User targeting, via preferences listeners provide themselves. Branded content will continue to increase, with radio being one of the original places it existed (ad libs, sponsor messages etc). Radio and its traditional off-shoots like brand engagement, will play more of a role in integrated campaigns. 

However it’s not simply about what is broadcast through the speakers anymore. Video and multi media channels for sharing content are now standard procedure for our radio brands. Putting the story first, channel second, and then giving it to the consumer where they are, when they want it, on whatever device is key. It’s all about great content for Kiwis and excellent talent on and off the air – we’ve got both.

  • This interview was conducted as part content partnership with NZME. 

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