A Change is coming, is it already here?

There is real hype about Audio and Content at the moment, be it Podcasts, Streaming or Smart Speakers. There is an onslaught of platforms taking a bite and further disrupting Radio’s share of ear.

Despite that, is this radio’s next golden age, asks Blair Sullivan from Create Consult Research.



“The foundations of radio haven’t changed; the tech has changed”

Those were some of the words James Cridland recently shared at the New Zealand Radio Bureau’s Power of Audio conference. That struck a chord.

There’s almost like a mantra that’s part of every On-Air Talent and Content Teams DNA, Content is King.

In Radio, Content is the world we live and breathe 24/7. 

So where do the dominoes fall now in and around Audio and Content beyond what we push out of the transmitter in a couple of countries?


At Create Consult Research we’re lucky to work with a bunch of great radio brands across Asia – each and every week. Gaining valuable insights beyond music and talent and into the listeners new Audio and Content world.

With our Blind Research panels full of Music Radio fans and not aligned to any particular station brand, we rolled out the same question series across three different countries exploring Streaming, Playlist Generation, Podcasts and Smart Speakers. All panels are in current surveyed radio markets with potential audience reaches ranging from over 600,000 to 33 million plus in some. 


The Process

We are looking at a combined sample of 1009 people – 50% from Indonesia, 31% from Australia and 19% from New Zealand.

The results are targeted and segmented in some of the key results, and for simplicity we have divided these into Under 40’s and Over 40’s, which aligns in broad terms with the majority of radio formats.

Our sample is greater Under 40, this is driven by the majority of Music Radio brands and formats targeting that demographic, and with the majority of radio brands having a female skew the collective sample reflects that with approximately a 65/35% female lean.

These are active Music Radio Listeners with format appeals ranging from pure CHR, AC to HOT AC.


How often are you listening to a streaming music service like Joox, iHeartRadio, Spotify or Apple Music


Collectively across the three Countries, we see that 1 in 3 are using a Music Streaming Service Every Day.

If you’re Under 40, it’s highly likely you stream daily, certainly weekly.

Joox is a strong player in the Indonesian market, whereas we see Spotify and, depending on the market, iHeartradio with strong market share in Australia and New Zealand.


Will Streaming be the New Normal?


Traditional Radio is still a critical part of the “daily routine” – it’s the thing we turn on to be entertained during the daily grind of the work commute. Multiple countries are seeing consistent growth in the medium but the platform or “Tech” of how it is delivered is shifting.

Our talent and curated content is our strength.

So how you adapt and how you deliver your content beyond the transmitter is now ever more critical in a what is fast becoming a fragmented audio and content world.

From our perspective we already know that 70-95% of our online Music research projects are from a mobile device. With increased competition from mobile providers with pure cheaper data packages and the rollout out of 5G backbones over time – the willingness and ease to tap into an online stream or app will only increase.


Is Curation an Opportunity?

As an industry, in Radio we know how to craft the perfect Music quarter hour but how are you reflecting that in the new environment?

When we asked how they use a Streaming service, most craft their own playlists or let the Algorithms kick in to serve music around what they are listening to start with.

Does an opportunity exist to build Curated Playlists aligned to your brand or format?

The great thing is many groups are making nice inroads in leveraging their existing apps or framework, the iHeartRadio App in New Zealand comes to mind, where it not only serves their core music brands but offers an array of curated content scheduled, researched and delivered for that market.


The Slower Build of Podcasts and Smart Speakers

Podcasts are not just the flavour of the month, they are perhaps flavour of the year in some markets. Ultimately however, much like any great radio talent, program or show, Podcasts are only as good as the concept and content.

While Podcasts are certainly now a solid part of our Radio Fans menu collectively across three countries and despite the hype, we have labelled podcasts “the slow build” right now.  Chances are they will continue to gain and build momentum as the bigger market players in the online space further flex their muscles.

It is also interesting to see the moves being made in various markets. If you pull out the financial year results for some companies, they no longer talk in “Radio Asset” terms but “Audio.”

Their strategy is clear, leveraging their talent base along with developing new content streams via their own curated podcast platforms.

Two things are clear, Podcast awareness and consumption is on the increase.


Smart Speakers the Next Evolution

I remember as a kid growing up, the radio was front and centre in the kitchen. This was way before Breakfast Television. Now as I look around my own house, the old Digital Radio Tuner is long gone. I now sample all the stations I want to listen to online. Be it the RadioApp in Australia, iHeartradio or as simple as calling up a station website and streaming to one of four Bluetooth speaker devices in the house.

As the Smart Speaker space continues to build, layering in speaker skills is clearly a no brainer.  “Hey Play Radio Hauraki”….. “Play Prambors”.

It’s no longer a world of clicking a preset button, more a voice command.


The Wrap

Going back to the start and from the New Zealand Radio Bureau’s Power of Audio conference, Dean Buchanan Group Director – Entertainment, NZME summed up nicely the undisputed fact of what radio delivers. He said:

“The importance of that one to one connection, trust, authenticity and realness and quality of CONTENT become all important”

For us naturally it’s the sum of all parts, radio, talent, web and social reach – it’s no longer one Linear Audio stream being traditional radio.

Again, the foundations of radio haven’t changed, the tech has changed.



If you are heading to RadioDays Asia, a bunch of great speakers from the region and across the world will be all talking and expanding a few of these areas further and more about the one thing we all love – Radio!

I look forward to seeing you there, and if you have any thoughts on this article, I’ll shout you a coffee!


About the Author

Blair Sullivan is the Director of Create Consult Research.

For over 30 years Blair Sullivan has worked with and for some of the biggest Radio and Television brands and groups across Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Europe in programming, strategy, management, branding, marketing, content and talent development and research.

In addition, for over 18 years Blair has guest lectured at Australia’s leading Universities on Research Methodology, Marketing, Branding and Positioning.

He is the Director of Create Consult Research  www.createconsultresearch.com






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