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ftm Radio Page - week ending January 19, 2018

Winter winds blow cold for commercial broadcasters
sour brand personality

Nothing changes more than the inevitable march of time. Radio broadcasters know, in particular, that time can be a friend, enemy or both. Audiences can react instantly or not at all. Very quirky. Always interesting.

French measurement institute Médiamétrie released this week national radio audience estimates for the November-December period. Listeners seem to have taken a holiday. National radio reach dropped to 79.4% from 80.8% year on year. Average daily time spent listening dropped three minutes.

National commercial radio channels bore the brunt. Aggregate national market share fell to 68.9% - lowest in years - from 70.7% one year on. This gave channels of public broadcaster Radio France a huge boost - 26.1% aggregate market share from 24.6%. Yes, it was a holiday season as well as a week of national mourning after French pop music legend Johnny Halliday passed away December 6th.

National channels RTL and France Inter led the rankings, respectively 13.1% and 11.1%, both gaining audience share. Hit music icon NRJ popped to 3rd, 6.4% market share from 6.1% (5th) year on year. Regional public network France Bleu placed 4th with 6.3% audience share, from 6th and 6.0%. All national public radio channels reported gains. (See French national radio audience trends chart here)

News-talk RMC contributed to overall national commercial radio losses, dropping to 6.2% audience share (5th) from 6.8% (3rd) one year on. Almost all attention of French media watchers was on Europe 1 - the national news-talk channel of Lagardére Active Radio. After poaching several high profile show hosts and executives from France Inter last year the channel’s audience share continues to fall, 6th place nationally with 5.1% audience share from 4th and 6.6% audience share. (See more about media in France here)

Other notable declines among national commercial channels were Fun Radio, 3.6% audience share (10th) from 4.2% (8th), Cherie FM, 2.2% (14th) from 2.7% (13th) and Virgin Radio, 2.6% (13th) from (11th). Bucking the trend was urban hip-hop Skyrock jumping to 3.9% (9th overall) from 2.9% (12th).

Public and private radio owners separate, no anxiety
"logical step"

Privately-owned radio broadcasting in Germany has operated quite consistently across the Federal States since the early 1990s. Owners haven’t changed to any great extent, ad sales and audience shares generally stable. There’s competition from public radio channels, which always draws the ire of private-sector owners.

A standout in the basic regulatory model has been Radio NRW, a network of 45 local radio stations in North Rhine-Westphalia, essentially all privately-owned radio in Germany’s most populous Federal State. It was formed in 1990 under a typically complicated ownership structure held by Pressfunk NRW, a consortium of big German publishers, RTL Radio Deutschland and regional public broadcaster Westdeutsche Rundfunk (WDR). Big publishers own stakes in many German radio companies and RTL Group is a significant owner of several. Holding a 24.9% stake in Radio NRW, WDR has always been an outlier. No other regional public broadcaster has held an equity position in private-sector broadcasting. (See more about media in Germany here)

That has come to an end, reported (January 17). WDR is out and nobody’s quite sure what that means. It could be nothing; other owners, likely Pressfunk NRW, absorbing the WDR shareholding. “For us, the opt-out is a logical step in the sense of a clear separation between commercial and public service broadcasting,” said a WDR spokesperson. “We see this as a strengthening of the dual broadcasting system.”

No cover for broadcasting executive charged with bad practice
tree-top flyer could be grounded

Mathieu Gallet has been president of public broadcaster Radio France since 2014. His five-year term could be cut short. Yes, there is something of a French scandal. This week (January 15) he was convicted of “favoritism” in “procurement contracts” when in his previous job as president of the National Audiovisual Institute (INA). The court imposed a one-year jail sentence, suspended, and a €20,000 fine. He’s appealing.

Culture Minister Françoise Nyssen, after a “change of tone,” reported Le Monde (January 16), jumped into the breach. “Public company executives have a duty to be exemplary. It is not an acceptable situation. It is up to the interested party to draw the consequences as well as the (media regulator) Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel (CSA).” Mme Nyssen was appointed last May by prime minister Edouard Philippe, replacing Audrey Azoulay, who had the job for fifteen months. During her brief tenure, Mme Nyssen has proposed restructuring public broadcasting, including recombining Radio France and France Télévisions. Highly touted for chief executive of a consolidated French public broadcaster has been Mathieu Gallet. (See more about media in France here)

Having authority over governance of French public broadcasters since 2013, the CSA has taken up the question of whether or not M. Gallet should be removed. After a morning meeting the CSA “opened a procedure” on the question, reported AFP (January 17). Upon concluding its “procedure,” the regulator would, said the statement, “intervene as quickly as possible.” It appears the CSA will give pause for an appellate decision.

“He has no reason to resign,” said M. Gallet’s lawyer Christophe Ingrain, interviewed on public radio new channel France Info (January 17). “I am sure he will be released on appeal.” The lawyer referred to the court’s decision as “fragile.”

Broadcasters see podcast audience growth, hot topics
For the young and on the move

While interest in downloading music has faded into the streaming scene, grabbing short radio programs through podcasts is still popular. Nearly every broadcaster producing speech-based programs makes them available for downloading. Some produce and distribute podcasts as extended - or at least supplementary - programming channels.

“Podcasts win especially in the younger part of the population,” wrote Danish public broadcaster DR research director Dennis Christensen in a preview to the annual Media Development report (January 9). About one in six Danish teens download podcasts weekly and one in four 20 to 39 year olds. Only about 5% of Danes over 65 years use podcasts. (See more about media in Denmark here)

“At the start, most Danish podcasts were radio programs,” he explained. “But now there are independent programs, such as the Mediano football podcast or the (newspaper) Politiken cooperation with (producer) Third Ear. That suggests podcasts are still strongest in terms of speech programs and the podcast is an opportunity for listeners on the move. Podcast users are generally younger than traditional radio listeners, so we can say the development in recent years helps ensure continuation of spoken-word in Denmark.” Downloads of DR podcasts grew about 7% over the last year.

Bavarian public broadcaster BR has a new podcast series, produced by news channel BR24. “Fakecast” debuted last weekend, reported (January 14) and there will be five more episodes. A timely subject, the series explores fake news, “alternative facts” and “how the perfect hoax is built.”

Radio Page week ending January 12, 2018
radio in Portugal, Bareme Radio, online radio, radio in Norway, digital transition, digital radio, DAB, NRK

Radio Page week ending December 8, 2017
radio in Greece, radio licenses, radio in Latvia, digital radio, DAB+

Radio Page week ending December 1, 2017
radio in Poland, radio audience, Radio Track, Millward Brown, RMF FM, Radio Zet, Eska Radio, Vox FM, Polskie Radio, Meloradio, KRRiT, radio in Spain, public radio, A Punt Radio

Radio Page week ending November 24, 2017
radio in France, radio audience, Greater Paris radio, Mediametrie, RTL, Europe 1, France Inter, Europe 1, RMC, NRJ, Skyrock, FIP, Radio Latina

Radio Page week ending November 17, 2017
radio in France, Mediametrie, RTL, Europe 1, Lagardere, Radio France, France Inter, radio in the Czech Republic, Radio Projekt, radio audience, Radio Impuls, Cesky rozhlas, Radiozurnal, Evropa 2, Hitradio, Kiss

Radio Page week ending November 10, 2017
radio in Poland, digital radio, Polskie Radio, Radio Chopin

Radio Page week ending November 3, 2017
radio in Sweden, national radio licenses, Bauer Media, NRJ, MTG

Radio Page week ending October 27, 2017
radio in the UK, RAJAR, radio audience, BBC Radio, Radio 2, Radio, 4, Radio 1, commercial radio, Heart, Capital London, LBC, radio in Russia, Ekho Moskvy

Radio Page week ending October 20, 2017
radio in Turkey, radio audience, Nielsen/URYAD, Kral FM, TRT

Radio Page week ending October 13, 2017
radio in Italy, Radio Italia, Gruppo Espresso, Mediaset, Radio Subasio, radio in Sweden, radio advertising, digital advertising

Radio Page week ending October 6, 2017
streaming audio, podcasts, Financial Times, Amazon Polly, radio in Greece, Alter Ego Media, Vima FM, Lambrakis Press Group

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