Commercial radio survey: radio regular source of news and entertainment for 84% of Kiwis

The New Zealand Commercial Radio Industry released the S3 2020 Radio Audience Data into the market today and it reveals that almost 3.7 million New Zealanders were listening to radio every week and almost 3.4 million of those listen to commercial radio stations.

The GfK Radio Audience Measurement survey usually contacts at least 14,000 respondents across New Zealand every year.

RBA CEO Jana Rangooni says: “With no Survey 2 this year due to the disruption of COVID, we are pleased to see the latest audience data demonstrates the important role radio plays in consumers’ everyday lives for news, information and entertainment even in the rapidly changing media landscape.”

Mediaworks CEO and RBA Chair, Michael Anderson adds: “I’m pleased to see the way that all media channels in New Zealand have stepped up to provide news and information in a period of unprecedented disruption to consumers, business and the media itself. The economic pressures have been intense but radio in particular has proven its enormous value to the country and continues to demonstrate resilience as it rebounds from the impacts of COVID-19. I’m incredibly proud of how the teams have come together and performed this year.”

NZME’s CEO Michael Boggs says: “Throughout the pandemic crisis, all New Zealanders relied on media organisations to continue to do what they do best – keeping Kiwis informed and connected. The fast moving nature of the crisis and the swift alert level changes meant radio in particular has played a vital role in ensuring New Zealander’s have been kept up to date wherever they live and whenever they listen. Radio is now delivering on the equally critical role of supporting the post COVID recovery by ensuring Kiwi businesses engage with their customers.”

MediaWorks radio has increased its overall listenership by 32,100 to reach 2,402,200 listeners every week and has seven of the top ten commercial stations in New Zealand with The Breeze, The Edge, More FM, Mai FM, Magic, The Rock and The Sound.

It has the top four music Breakfast shows in the country with More FM, The Breeze, Magic and Mai FM, as well as the top five music Drive shows in the country with The Breeze, More FM, Magic, The Rock, and The Sound.

In the commercially important 25-54 category MediaWorks has five of the top six most listened to stations with More FM, The Breeze, The Rock, The Sound and The Edge.

The Breeze has retained its position as the number one music station in the country with 9.5% share and a national audience of 622,000 listeners – an increase of 38,500 listeners.

Mai FM has grown its national audience by 33,500 listeners and in Auckland, the Mai Morning Crew with Nickson, Tegan and Jordan is the leading music Breakfast station with 12.3% share – up 2.8%. It is also the most popular music station in Auckland overall with an increase of 23,100 listeners to achieve a weekly audience of 241,600 people.

Magic has reached its highest ever listenership with an audience of 427,900, an increase of 30,100 listeners. It has also cracked a 9.0% share for the first time and is now the third most listened to commercial station nationwide. Magic also beats its commercial talk competitor nationwide in Mornings (9am-12pm) and Afternoons (12pm-4pm).

Rova continues to experience fantastic growth reaching over 705,000 app downloads. During the month of September, over 152,000 unique users streamed over 4,400,000 hours of radio with a 27% increase in streaming year-on-year. Podcasts continue to surge in popularity with downloads up 92% year-on-year and curated playlists available on rova music+ stations recorded a 93% increase year-on-year.

Leon Wratt, MediaWorks Content Director – Radio, says: “We’re very pleased to see such a strong result for radio despite the ongoing disruption of Covid-19. With 84% of the total population tuning into radio every week, the platform continues to show its strength across the country.”

NZME’s Newstalk ZB has increased its overall audience by nearly 74,000 listeners, while music network ZM now has the most listeners in the key audience groups of 25-44 year olds and 25-54 year olds across New Zealand.

Newstalk ZB and ZM grew their Breakfast audiences and are now the two most popular commercial breakfast radio networks across New Zealand’s major radio markets.

The latest increase in Newstalk ZB’s nationwide audience takes the news and talk network’s audience to more than 610,300 listeners, ZB’s biggest audience since it was launched in 1987.

The Mike Hosking Breakfast further cemented its place as New Zealand’s favourite breakfast radio show, growing by 33,100 listeners.

NZME Head of Talk Jason Winstanley says: “It’s incredibly humbling that so many New Zealanders looking for news and information they can trust, have turned to Newstalk ZB in such huge numbers during the Covid crisis and beyond. We’ve had audience growth right across the day – with listeners looking for up to the minute news as well as the connection, companionship and conversations across our talk shows.”

Newstalk ZB’s listener growth reflects increasing audience engagement across all NZME’s news platforms during 2020.

NZME made significant changes to many of its radio networks in the lead up to this radio survey period including the launch of the Jono & Ben Breakfast on The Hits, a new breakfast show on Coast with Jase, Toni & Sam, introducing a new ’Old School’ music format on Hip Hop and RnB network Flava as well as the launch of a brand new ‘Gold’ network in July.

NZME Chief Radio and Commercial Officer Wendy Palmer says: “All of the changes we’ve launched this year are part of a strategy aimed at delivering sustainable audience growth by making sure we have a relentless focus on our listeners. This means having the best radio hosts in New Zealand on the best networks.

“The ongoing growth of the popularity of ZM reflects the incredible dedication of its on-air, production and promotions teams to their audience. ZM continues to go from strength to strength, now with 523,600 listeners nationwide – a new high for the network.”

NZME’s broadcast audience growth has been mirrored on its digital audio platform iHeartRadio which recently clicked over a million registered users. Listening data shows that since the lockdown commenced, iHeartRadio listening has grown – last week there was a high of nearly two million streams and 1.18 million total listening hours.

New Zealanders also took to podcasting in huge numbers across the Covid lockdown periods. In March this year, iHeartRadio podcast listens increased by 25% compared to February. Downloads and listens now total nearly 1.6 million each month. The top three podcasts are Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking Breakfast, The Fletch, Vaughan and Megan Show from ZM and The Matt & Jerry show from Radio Hauraki.

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