By any measure, its been an impressive first survey for smoothfm. Taking its frequencies up to near record highs – by 0.7 in Sydney and 0.6 in Melbourne. Even the uniformity of the rise suggests that the format, and the execution of the marketing to sell it, has hit the bullseye with the target market. But as it’s architect Paul Jackson says, “At 10 or 11 weeks in, it’s still a baby.
Indeed, just 10 or 11 weeks ago at launch, Jackson was curbing any enthusiasm for early success, warning all in earshot that it could take 18 months or more for the brand to become established.
But he was in a bullish mood when I contacted him just after Nielsen’s Survey 5 results were know. “What can I say, it’s fantastic!” Jackson tells me with enthusiasm now off the leash, “The cumes in both markets are sensational. The shares in Sydney and Melbourne are great. For Sydney to be on the same share as Mix at the first time of asking – and win all the day-parts in the daytime – is outstanding.
“The team has done a brilliant job. So much love and attention, energy and effort has gone into launching smooth – everybody’s delighted about that. They deserve a little drink and then we’ll get back to it tomorrow,” said Paul Jackson.
As the old saying goes, if you want an objective analysis of the game you don’t ask the cheer squad. So we asked the opposition.
Craig Bruce at Southern Cross Austereo whose stations are not directly in smooth’s firing line said, “They’ve done really well, haven’t they. And they’ve probably taken some audience at the expense of MIX in Sydney. I guess MIX in Melbourne is holding up better given that Chrissie’s (Swan) probably a stronger option for them in Melbourne as a breakfast show. That’s really coming on quite nicely for them.
“I think they’ve (smooth) clearly found an audience that cumes them up. They’re filling a need which the previous formats weren’t. There was a hole there, which everyone knew was there to be filled, and they’ve done a very good job,” says Craig Bruce.
Over at ARN, the network that operates the aforementioned MIX stations, its chief programmer, Duncan Campbell had looked a little deeper into the numbers, “For us it’s too early to tell. Look at the smooth numbers and there’s some growth driven out of 10 to 24’s which is not in their target – we’ll get to see that wash out. While I’m sure they’ll be fairly confident with the numbers, it’s a bit too early to tell.”