Sounding off: Magic finds a sweet spot

As part of a content partnership with MediaWorks, we’ve asked a few of the company’s programme directors about the performance of their brands, the state of radio and the importance of digital channels. And the newest kid on the block, Magic, has got off to a good start, attracting a good number of loaded oldies in its first few months and performing well in the regions. We talked to Ian Avery about the birth of the new brand. 

Magic is around six months old, and while its overall ratings are still low, which is to be expected for such a new brand, what’s more telling is how it’s performing with its target audience – the 50-69-year-old golden oldies set. All up, the station reached 62,600 in terms of total cumulative audience (12mn – 12mn). And, as its slogan suggests, it feels good. 

  • ​Check out all the results from the T2 survey here

As a relatively new station, has Magic found a gap in the market? 

Our goal was two percent national share in the first survey. Considering we have only been on air for six months, job done. We are happy.

In markets like Hawke’s Bay, Christchurch and Southland, you can see Magic has taken share straight from Coast. We knew Coast was more focused on The Breeze and not serving this audience. Magic super-serves this audience and it’s a good indicator for future growth. The number one music station in Hawke’s Bay. Wow!

The oldies have plenty of money. And it’s a growing cohort in New Zealand. Is that an under-appreciated demographic among advertisers? And are they still keen on radio? 

The anecdotal feedback, from both listeners and clients, has been extraordinary. We get txt and emails daily, almost all of them now loving Magic.

I’ve been a content director for over 15 years in a number of formats, but I’ve never experienced feedback like this.

Listeners who discover Magic are so passionate about the brand and the music and there are some incredible sales success stories.

Research wise we know this audience has money and we know there is a lot of focus on 25-54, but the sales feedback on Magic is a real eye opener.

In an increasingly fragmented media landscape, what’s radio’s selling point? And with all the other options available, why are people still listening?

Programme directors are knowledgeable and capable music curators and our talent are more than ever before presenting compelling content. Radio is accustomed to change. We’re nimble and we adapt quickly. We’ve embraced online with things like our weekly music quiz and VOD. It’s changed everything.

There’s a perception that you need the latest hits to be successful in radio. But the classics seem to endure. So what’s more important for growing an audience, musical nostalgia or the personalities introducing them? 

Radio has always been about music, mornings and marketing. It’s the whole package and that’s what makes us different from Spotify or Pandora. Magic’s music is brilliantly curated. Mark Leishman, the legend Bob Gentil and Mark Smith connect with the audience and things like the Magic jingle tie it all in.  

The older audience is pretty keen on concerts. And they spend a lot of money attending them. Are events becoming a bigger part of your business? 

I was at Bruce Springsteen and Michael Buble concerts and looking around was a sea of Breeze/Sound/Magic listeners. All happy to spend, all having a good time.

The challenge for us is to do more with these events than just a logo on a poster. How do we integrate our brands into them? 

What are some of the best examples of ad campaigns/brand partnerships/promotions/competitions you’ve run over the past year?

The best campaign I’ve run in the last 12 months and probably the best of my career is the current Spandau Ballet campaign for The Breeze.

With Magic Meter Maids we set out to engage with listeners one on one. When we encountered people putting money in parking meters, we not only paid for their parking, we spoke to them about Magic, gave them some merchandise and, if allowed, tuned Magic into their car radio.

We’ve seen the overhaul in recent years of some cornerstone radio brands. What no longer works in radio that once seemed rock solid? 

For most of my radio career if you had a $30,000 cash promo, trips or a car to give away, there was a fair chance you’d have a good survey result. Today these things simply don’t work. Like all media, content is king. It’s about all our personalities across all day parts presenting killer content, every day and connecting with our audience. 

  • This story is part of a content partnership with MediaWorks

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