The latest JNLR report which was carried out by Ipsos MRBI shows that 83% of the adult population listen to radio on a daily basis, a clear indication that radio continues to offer a strong platform for advertisers seeking to reach a mass audience.
The latest report covers the 12-month period from October 2012 to September 2013 and a total of 16,000 people were interviewed as part of the research.
The figures show that 57% of the adult population tune into a local or regional station while 45% tune into a national station. Amongst the all-important 15-34 demographic, some 79% of them listen to radio on a daily basis.
In terms of the time spent listening to radio, the figures also show that Irish audiences tune in, on average, for almost 4 hours per day during the prime 7am to 7pm time while in terms of share of all minutes listened, national radio currently has 47.0% minutes while local/regional radio holds the majority share with 53.0%.
In the various regions throughout the country, national radio holds the majority share position in Dublin (56.3%) and along the North East – the Dublin Commuter belt (57.1%), the Multi-city area (50.3%) and the North East & Midlands Area (51.4%) while local/regional radio is in the majority in the other regions throughout the country, in particular achieving its highest share position in the North West and Cork regions (61.7%).
Among the younger, 15-34 year old, audience across the country, local/regional radio is in the majority share position at 64.3% versus 35.7% for national radio. In particular, the local/regional group holds its strongest share position among this age segment in Dublin (75.3%), the Dublin Commuter region (73.5%), Cork (65.4%) and the Multi-city region (67.9%) according to the figures.
On the other hand, among at the older 35+ age segment, national radio has a marginal majority share, 50.8%. However, in regional markets among this age group, national radio maintains a strong share position in Dublin (68.6%), the Dublin Commuter region (68.3%), in the Multi-city area (57.1%) and the North East & Midlands Area (54.0%).
Local radio continues to be a strong performer in the individual radio markets across the country – in many areas reaching more than 40% of the local adult population daily. In Kerry, Mayo and Donegal Nth, at least half of the adult population tune in daily. In particular, on the criterion of share of minutes listened during prime 7am to 7pm, Highland Radio, MWR, Tipp FM and Radio Kerry hold the majority share position in their franchise areas.
The figures for the independent radio sector were welcomed by David Tighe, the CEO of IRS, the advertising sales house that represents 21 local and regional stations around the country through its Ireland FM network.
“This is further confirmation of the outstanding performance of the collection of powerful local stations who make up Ireland FM network. Ireland FM has beaten RTE 1 and all the other national stations in weekly reach, listened yesterday and market share. It is further proof that if you want to reach a truly national audience Ireland FM is the platform of choice,” he says.
The strong performance of the local and regional stations has also provided the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI) with additional ammunition as it attempts to persuade the Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte to reconsider the role local radio plays when he is formulating the new Public Service Broadcasting Charge.
“Minister Rabbitte will shortly begin examining the results of his recent consultation on the introduction of the new charge which will replace the television licence fee. The JNLR results need to form part of his considerations as they are the clearest indication of what the audience are actually listening to” said John Purcell, chairman of the IBI.
“The Minister cannot afford to ignore the radio choice of 2.45 million Irish people who tune into independent radio stations every day. Such consistently high levels of listenership prove that Ireland’s independent radio stations are providing a service to the public that is widely used, performs an invaluable role in society and has become an integral part of our Irish identity in every county in the country”.
“The latest JNLR figures released today confirm the popularity of the independent radio stations in Ireland with 67% of the population tuning into independent radio. This translates into weekday figures of 2.45 million listeners,” he adds.
For its part RTÉ continues its strong position in the overall radio market with 19 of the top 20 programmes emanating in the State-owned broadcaster.
Commenting on the latest figures the newly appointed managing director of RTÉ Radio, Jim Jennings, “This is a very strong result. RTÉ Radio 1 remains the number one choice for listeners across the week. It’s particularly pleasing to see Radio 1’s mid-morning programmes increase their audiences. There are encouraging strong figures on RTÉ 2fm at weekends: the challenge for the station is now to replicate that for weekdays and it’s a challenge new head Dan Healy is tackling head-on. RTÉ lyric fm is growing its loyal audience and is another example of how weekends are the big winner in these latest results.”
(A full report and analysis on the latest JNLR figures will be published in the November issue of IMJ)