Paul Jackson: ‘It’s the best day in the network’s history’

Survey 2 landed a couple of days late given the ANZAC Day public holiday Tuesday but for Nova Entertainment it was worth the wait.

The day firmly belonging to smoothfm.

#1 FM in both Sydney and Melbourne with 9.9% exactly in both markets.

smooth even beat out ABC Sydney for second place overall behind 2GB. smooth took 3rd place overall in Melbourne.

Things were pretty good on the Nova front too.

“In its totality, it’s the best day in the network’s history,” boasts Nova Entertainment’s network head Paul Jackson.

So has the smooth result cemented the brand as the leader in the FM Market?

“I would say yes. The station is a phenomenon in both markets.
“We have well and truly arrived and I think we’re are being close to, if not already being the dominant force.”

“The Sydney numbers for smooth are really something I can’t explain,” says ARN‘s Duncan Campbell, with both KIIS and WSFM losing ground in Sydney.

“The only two issues we have got are WSFM and probably Brisbane, the rest of the network is very strong and we have seen some good numbers today,” he says.

“While smooth is a good station, we weren’t expecting that sort of uplift given we had got ourselves back into a much more competitive position with them towards the end of last year so, I don’t expect the smooth numbers in Sydney to be sustained.”

It’s not a case of ARN suffering too much it was a case of SCA declining and Nova having a very successful book off the back of the Nova rebrand launch which resulted in some extensive marketing.”

radioinfo asked if the current world climate may have contributed to smooth beating the ABC in Sydney?

“An interesting point. But the honest answer is I am not too sure,” says Paul.

“… I look closely at stations in the Easy Listening, AC and hot AC formats around the world, some do great and some don’t, so maybe there is some truth in it certainly.”

“There is something in that,” says Duncan. “We talked 20 years ago about how time-stressed people were and that applies more today than it ever did. It’s incumbent upon us all to make listening to the radio as stress free as possible but there is also some strong demographic growth 55+ for smooth which came directly off WSFM as well.”
Meantime it wasn’t a great survey for SCA with 2Day FM the least of the network’s worries.

“It was a good day for 2Day in Sydney,” says the Hit Network’s Gemma Fordham “Yet again more cume coming in, both overall and in breakfast. We are 2 surveys into the year with the highest cume we’ve had since December 2012. We are extremely happy with the show and we know the numbers will continue to grow. Our marketing for the show is yet to kick in – we have very healthy numbers outside of the radio survey and we know the people who are finding the show absolutely love it and have high engagement. Our focus now is awareness.”

“In Melbourne, we have seen some falls, which are of course hard to swallow,” says Gemma.

FOX FM placed 5th overall.

“However, it’s a very tight race there now and Fox does have some very impressive results to still be immensely proud of and celebrate. Ofcourse we will look at the breakfast result and make sure we are making any necessary tweaks to the content etc to put it back in its strong position.”

The ever reliable Triple M was down considerably in both cities, -1.2 in Sydney to land on just 4.8 (.2 ahead of 2Day). In Melbourne, Triple M dropped by -0.9 despite a small increase in Breakfast. Workday Mornings and Afternoons fell by -2.4 and -2.6 respectively.

“Breakfast is #1 FM in Melb. That’s no small feat,” says the Network’s Mike “Fitzy” Fitzgerald. “AFL, along with JB and Billy only started in week 3 of the 5-week survey so we haven’t had a chance to get a full book with our footy and drive show, so no real concerns there. Workday is off more than it should be. It will come back.”

HIT 105 in Brisbane waxed a tad by 0.3 to pip 97.3 FM and come in at #2 overall.

“To see the Brisbane numbers not only hold but go up was very pleasing,” says Gemma. 

It was good news for Triple M in Brisbane too and in Adelaide. 

“A few factors (were the difference in those markets compared to Sydney and Melbourne),” says Fitzy.

“A less cluttered space compared to Sydney and Melbourne. However, it’s still not easy to cut through in those markets, and the teams have done a strong job with their stations, especially given the onslaught of marketing by the opposition. 

“The Robin (Bailey) factor in Brisbane has helped enormously. Not just having her on MMM, but by the network she was on, dropping the ball. It’s allowed listeners that were welded onto 97.3, to go looking for something else. Luckily, SCA had and has 2 great products ready for those disenfranchised listeners to turn to.”

The breakfast battle in Brisbane became quite personal in the lead up to Survey 2, with a promo airing quoting a listener,

Hey it’s Carly here from Redland Bay,

When I first heard about the show changing I was angry to be honest with you, after ten years of being with three people every morning…

Confused as to what had happened…

Bianca came along and she totally changed my thoughts on the breakfast team because I realised then it was three people…

And while Robin Bailey’s name is never mentioned in the promo, the reference is evident.

“These are actual listeners testimonials,” says Duncan
“People were initially angry at the story but when they came back and listened to 97.3 they enjoyed what they heard and they find the breakfast show now a lot more fun and entertaining.”

However, it hasn’t reflected in the ratings with 97.3 FM which led the market last survey beaten into 3rd place by Nova and HIT.

“It’s (the promo) a low blow,” says Paul.  “It’s an eye off the ball moment. Shut up and take care of your own people and your own products and the rest will take care of itself.” 

And that wraps up Survey 2. You can read our analysis here and take a look at the spin.

Survey 3 results will be dropped Tuesday June 6th.


Tags: | | | | |