The latest book of radio listenership research from IPSOS MRBI covers a rolling year from July 16 to June 17 and shows Ireland’s love of radio endures, with 82% of adults listening daily. For all the changes in society, technology and media, that’s only down slightly from 85% in 2006, a decade ago. For the purposes of this analysis, YoY data compares this releases against July 15 to Jun 16 and ‘book on book’ compares it against April 16 to March 17.
At a national level this has been a strong book for RTE Radio, with Radio 1 and 2FM posting increases of 30,000 and 32,000 YoY respectively, for the key measure of ‘Listened Yesterday’. Today FM had a more challenging book, losing 17,000 in listened yesterday, while Newstalk added 9,000. The result means 2FM (376,000) has closed the gap on Newstalk (389,000) and Today FM (393,000) at a national level.
Digging deeper, we’ve looked at some individual programme performances to see what is driving these trends. Looking at the Radio 1 schedule, their two flagship shows, Morning Ireland and News at 1 are down 13,000 and 23,000 respectively, but it is the rest of the schedule that is driving the overall increase, especially mid-morning with Tubridy (+15,000) and Sean O’Rourke (+16,000) performing well. The stand-out on 2FM is Breakfast Republic, up 27,000 YoY. On Today FM, Ian Dempsey and Dermot and Dave recorded decreases of 17,000 and 10,000, but their mid afternoon slot (14.30-16.30) did very well (+13,000).
Finally, Newstalk is difficult to evaluate because there have been so many schedule changes, it will take more time before we have directly comparable robust YoY data. Meantime initial book-on-book comparisons are encouraging: Breakfast is up 3,000 to 119,000 and Pat Kenny is up 3,000 to 151,000. George Hook, Moncrieff and Drive Time with Chris and Sarah are relatively unchanged and steady.
Big picture in the Dublin market, it’s pretty much ‘as you were’, YoY, with 98FM having ever so slightly closed the gap on FM104 in terms of weekly reach, moving from 19% to 20% YoY, while FM104 dropped from 30% to 29%. Of the Dublin locals, looking at the same broad measure, Q102 is a winner YoY growing from 14% to 16% in weekly reach. In the all-important key figure of market share, 7am to 7pm, RTÉ Radio 1 gained 1.8% and continues to be the clear leader in Dublin with 36.4% while Today FM lost 1.1%. With the exception of Radio 1 (+18,000), all other stations have lost listenership YoY.
Looking at key programme results, perhaps the most interesting result sees Q102 breakfast at near parity with Spin 1038 breakfast. Year on year, Q102 added 7,000 to their breakfast show to reach 36,000 listeners daily, with Spin losing 9,000 and dropping to 37,000. Meanwhile 98FM lost 2,000 for its breakfast show, coming in at 37,000 – it’s neck a neck between the three. It will be interesting to see how that battle continues this year. FM104 remains the clear leader of the locals during breakfast with 74,000 tuning in daily. The Dublin afternoon and evening schedules have seen less changes this time around.
MAIN CITIES (EXC DUBLIN)
‘Home Local’ listenership is covered in the JNLR and represents the county level local stations across the country. At a county by county level they continue to significantly outperform the nationals. Combined they reach 41% daily in their franchise areas, with Radio 1 a distant second at 24%, showing the power of local radio.
In Cork, 96FM has grown 7am-7pm market share YoY by 1.6%, to 20.7%, but Red FM has just managed to hold on to top spot by that measure, gaining 2.5%, for 22% market share. C103 on the other hand had a tough book, losing 3.4% YoY, all in the last book. This is a big drop in one book, so we need to see does it carry through over time. Galway Bay FM, Limerick FM and WLR, all had tough books YoY losing 3%, 5.8% and 2.7% of their 7am- 7pm market share YoY respectively.