Surprisingly, the introduction of digital streaming services over the last few years has not had much of a detrimental impact on the Irish radio industry as a whole. There has been only slight fluctuation in overall listenership YOY (-1% to 83%) and the average time spent listening per day has remained almost static at just over 4 hours. Considering all the new players in this space, a decline of only 1% YOY is quite impressive.
Last year we saw a marginal increase in time spent listening by the younger audience, 15-19s, and this trend has continued again this year with time spent rising from 2.4 hrs to 2.47 hrs. Not a huge fluctuation, but unexpected nonetheless considering the wide range of options this audience looks to for listening to music. While overall time spent has remained pretty flat YOY, most age demographics have seen a drop: -9% YOY for 20-24s (3.4 hrs vs 3.7 hrs last year) and -3% YOY for 25-34s (3.4 hrs vs 3.7 hrs last year).
This won’t come as much of a shock, as young audiences are becoming increasingly harder to reach using traditional media. Last year we saw 55-64s time spent listening drop by -7%; however this year we are only seeing -3% (4.7 hrs vs 4.9hrs last year).
Overall, we’ve seen a 1% drop in National Radio listenership YOY. These figures look quite static, but when we delve into the programme slots we can see what’s really been happening on a more granular level.
RTE Radio 1 remains the market leader with 23.5% market share. It’s the only national station to see growth, with its daily reach increasing 2 points to 25%; an increase of 48,000 daily listeners. Morning Ireland and Live Line were clear winners, with increases of 43,000 and 24,000 weekly listeners respectively.
The story is not so positive for the rest of the nationals: 2FM is down -43,000, Today FM -61,000 and Newstalk -25,000. 2FM and Newstalk are neck and neck with 10% daily reach each; while Today FM is in second place at 12%.
It is probably too early to be able to measure the effects of 2FM’s re-brand; their current market share is down -1% YOY to 6.1%, and we are not able to compare their new show Breakfast Republic YOY, however they are pulling in 162,000 weekly listeners. With the re-brand looking to pulling in more of the 15-34 market for 2FM, and if we delve deep into the quarter hour figures, the station has seen YOY gains for this 15-34 audience in both the Breakfast Republic show, and also Tracey Clifford’s afternoon show. Book on book, Louise McSharry has shown gains in listenership in her evening show which pulls in a niche, music-savvy audience.
Although their daily reach is matching that of 2FM, Newstalk’s market share has only declined 0.4%, now standing at 6.2%. They have lost listeners across the schedule but the biggest loss has been from Pat Kenny, at -16,000.
Today FM had the biggest loss of listeners on the national front last year, and this has continued again this year. Their market share now sits at 7.5%; down from 8.6% YOY. Both Ian Dempsey & Matt Cooper, have lost listeners; 14,000 and 21,000 respectively. However, Anton Savage’s time slot has seen the biggest drop, down -37,000 to 175,000 vs last year’s survey which would have represented Ray D’Arcy in that time slot (212,000).
FM104 and Spin 1038 are continuing their tradition of 1st and 2nd in the Dublin market in terms of daily reach (18%; 14%); but Spin is now neck and neck with 98FM in terms of market share, both with 6.3%, after losing 2,000 listeners each. FM104 saw a very marginal decline last year of 1,000 but this has been recouped five-fold this year. The biggest loser has been Q102, with a loss of 16,000 listeners (-17% YOY).
Again Sunshine has shown itself to be a one to watch. This year has seen it gain 15,000 listeners which is a 33% increase YOY. Their market share has also moved in a positive direction from 3.4% to 4.8%; indicating their rebrand campaign has been successful.
There has been a major shake-up in the Cork radio market in recent years and the effects of this look set to continue: Red FM is still the market leader (after knocking Cork 96 out of pole position late last year) with 20.4% market share. Their daily reach has grown by 14% to 126,000 listeners. That said, Cork’s 96FM aren’t resting on their laurels; YOY their market share is only down 1.1%. C103’s market share has dropped slightly from 14.3% to 14%, with a 40% drop in listeners YOY.
Generally it is good news for the Urban Media stations; both Galway Bay and Limerick 95 have increased their daily reach by 12% and 28% respectively. However, WLR has seen a reduction of 4,000 listeners which equates to a 10% drop in daily reach for the station.