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ftm Radio Page - week ending July 21, 2017

Audience disappears, broadcasters complain, retrench
time to reflect

Listening levels tacked lower in France according to the Médiamétrie national radio audience estimates for the April through June period. Global reach dipped to 79.0%, a historic low. Aggregate time spent listening dropped 5 minutes per day. Accordingly, there have been complaints.

The top two national radio channels - RTL and France Inter - held their spots though shedding audience share, slightly; RTL at 12.3% market share from 12.9% year on year and France Inter 10.6% audience share from 10.9%. News and talk channel RMC popped into 3rd place with 6,9% audience share from 6.2% and 5th place. All-news public radio channel France Info posted the biggest jump among national radio broadcasters to 4.2% audience share from 3.5%. The effect of presidential elections was rather uneven.

Legacy pop music channel NRJ held 4th place but dropped to 6.4% audience share from 6.7% one year on. NRJ Group managing director Maryam Salehi poured scorn on the audience estimates for “the lasting impact of the Fun Radio fraud,” quoted by Le Point (July 20). After protest from riled competitors this time last year Médiamétrie de-listed Fun Radio for disrupting the survey process. RTL Group, owner of Fun Radio, also complained about “constraints” on its audience estimates “systematically redistributed… to other stations in the market,” quoted by French radio news portal Le Letter Pro Radio (July 20). Fun Radio placed 10th in the current audience estimates. (See French national radio audience share trend chart here)

National talk channel Europe 1, unsurprisingly, fell to 5th place with 6.1% audience share - a historic low - from 7.0% one year on. Owner Lagardère Active Radio set out over the last several weeks to replace key executive and on-air staff, mostly from public radio channel France Inter, for a high-profile return from the summer holidays. First results of that effort will not be known until late autumn.

Overall, public broadcaster Radio France channels rose on aggregate to 25.0% audience share from 24.0% year on year, mostly on gains from France Info and France Culture. National commercial channels on aggregate dropped audience share to 70.4% from 71.4%.

Shifting audience hurts public broadcasters
momentum and minutes lost

Commercial radio broadcasters in Switzerland were heartened by Mediapulse audience estimates for the first half of 2017. Aggregate market share for private local stations in the Swiss-German speaking region rose to 31.56%, highest ever, up from 29.88% year on year. In the Italian-speaking region aggregate market share for private local stations rose to 16.9%, highest ever, from 15.8%. And private local stations in the French-speaking region also saw a boost to 25.29% aggregate market share, up from 23.36%.

Local broadcasters were, understandably, excited. “We now have even more momentum,” said Radio Fiume Ticino artistic director Marcello Tonini, quoted by news portal Ticinonline (July 20). The station in the Italian-speaking region reached 5.1% market share, best ever, from 4.2% year on year. Also in the Italian-speaking region, Radio3i has been creeping higher in recent years, now placing 3rd in the region with 10.85% market share. (See Swiss Italian region radio market share trend chart here)

The three regional public radio broadcasters hit a few bumps. On aggregate Swiss Italian public radio channels were up, 62.44% market share from 61.9% year on year, and market leading Rete Uno rose to 41.2% market share from 39.6%. But youth-oriented pop music channel Rete Tre dropped to 16.9% market share from 18.0%.

Results were similar across the three linguistic regions. Swiss-German public radio broadcaster dropped on aggregate to 57.86% market share from 59.19% year on year. Several of its channels were lower, notable youth-oriented pop music channel SRF3 falling to 16.07% market share from 17.01%. (See Swiss German region radio market share trend chart here) In the French-speaking region the aggregate market share of RTS channels fell to 55.19% from 56.99%. Market leading general interest channel La Premiere was lower at 37.62% market share from 38.74%. (See Swiss French region radio market share trend chart here)

Swiss public radio broadcasters still, without a doubt, maintain a huge market advantage. Interestingly, the regional market shares for the three thematic digital channels (once satellite only, now distributed across the country via DAB+ networks) - Radio Swiss Pop, Radio Swiss Classic and Radio Swiss Jazz - are showing their age. And, too, private local stations have taken advantage of digital opportunities to significantly improve coverage.

Total reach in the three Swiss regions continues under pressure. In the French-speaking region total reach dropped to 83.11% and aggregate time spent listening dropped 3 minutes one year on. In the Swiss-German region total reach fell to 86.14% with time spent listening off more than 4 minutes. The Swiss Italian region still has the highest total reach, 88.37%, off slightly, and time spent listening was also off more than 4 minutes.


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