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ftm Radio Page - January 27, 2017

Glacial change is still change
and change the measurement, too

Everything about radio broadcasting is changing, sometimes slowly and sometimes not so slowly. Radio in Switzerland is, in general, as firm as those mountains. There’s also the drip, drip, drip of change, as with those magnificent glaciers. Call it climate change, or something.

Radio’s reach in Switzerland has long been robust. In each of the three linguistic regions, total reach is lower according to the MediaPulse institute audience estimates released January 20th. In the Swiss-German speaking region total reach dropped to 86.7% from 87.0% year on year. Not much, except five years ago total reach was 88.8%. Another small decrease in total reach was felt in the French-speaking region; 82.7% from 83.0%. Again, five years ago total reach in the French-speaking region was 84.0%. Total reach in the Italian-speaking region was nearly unchanged year on year, 88.65% from 88.7%.

Time spent listening (TSL) has fallen, too; arguably with more significance. In the Swiss-German speaking region average TSL dropped more than 5 minutes year on year to 114.9 minutes. Average TSL dropped 3 minutes in the French-speaking region to 99 minutes. In the Italian-speaking region average TSL was unchanged; 117.9 minutes.

Across all regions, privately-owned mostly local radio gained and the regional channels of Swiss public broadcaster SSR-SRG were punished. Swiss-German public radio broadcaster SFR, on aggregate, was lower to 57.5% market share from 58.7% year on year. Main general interest channel SFR1 posted 30.0% market share, down from 30.9%. (See Swiss-German region radio audience trend chart here) Energy Zürich was the leading private station with 2.7% market share from 2.4%, followed by Radio Pilatus, a hit music station serving central Switzerland, at 2.5% market share.

The result was similar in the French-speaking region with privately-owned radio broadcasters gaining, on aggregate, to 26% market share - a historic peak - from 24.4% market share one year on. BNJ FM and Rouge FM made significant gains. Public broadcaster RTS, on aggregate, fell to 54.8% market share from 56.3% market share. Main general interest channel La Premiere dropped to 35.3% market share from 37.6% market share. Youth-oriented public channel Couleur 3 rose noticeably to 7.0% from 6.3%. (See French region radio audience trend chart here)

From the Italian-speaking region the big news was a mighty leap among privately-owned radio stations. There are two, not including neighboring stations from Italy, and taken together their market share rose to 16.8% year on year from 15.3%. The leading private station is Radio 3i, 11.1% market share, up from 9.6%. While main public channel Rete Radio Uno, still market leader, posted a gain to 41.4% market from 41.0%, both Radio Tre and Radio Due were off significantly. (See Italian region radio audience trend chart here)

This summer Mediapulse begins testing new measurement technology to implement in 2018.

Listeners adapting, trend and decline
“less locked into formats”

Time spent listening to radio fell in 2016, reported Danish public broadcaster DR’s annual study of the medium. Danes listened on average 116 minutes per day, 5 minutes fewer than 2015. The study, released January 19, aggregates data collected from the bi-weekly Kantar Gallup Radio Meter audience estimates of persons 12 years and older.

DR remains the prominent radio broadcaster in Denmark. Pop music general interest network P4 reached 35.9% share in 2016, up slightly from 35.5% one year on. Hit music P3 placed second with 15.8% share, sharply lower from 18.6%. During the year a popular P3 program was moved to P4. P1 was slightly lower at 6.8% share from 6.3%. Estimated audience for oldies channel P5 grew to 6.5% share from 5.2%. Culture channel P2 slipped to 3.2% share from 3.8% and P7 Mix was significantly lower at 2.5% share from 3.7%. (See more about media in Denmark here)

Commercial channel Nova rose to 4.9% share - 5th overall - from 4.2% year on year. Non-commercial news channel Radio24syv also gained listeners; 2.7% share from 2.2%. On aggregate, time spent listening increased for commercial channels and news-talk channel Radio24syv and fell for DR channels.

“In 2016 radio (listening) fell back in the old groove with a slight decline,” said a summary of the DR study. “However, the decline spreads to a few channels and not the medium as a whole, so it is not inconceivable that one might see radio listening time rise again at a later date. At the same time there is also something… to suggest that the trend of listeners adapting continues.” Listeners have “become a little less locked into formats that have been the trend for years.”

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