Radio is more important than ever in the mix

The full year release of the new BRC RAM data will confirm that radio is more important than ever in the mix

Lerlynn Latief, Head of Media & Market Intelligence at Mediamark, says the time has come for a reassessment of the value of radio in the marketing mix.

The Broadcast Research Council of South Africa’s Radio Audience Measurement (BRC RAM) data will come of age on 28 February, when the June – December 2016 survey is launched to the industry. The data will provide the industry with a deeper understanding of consumer listening behaviour, and dispel some misconceptions about radio listenership.


With the previous 2016 BRC RAM releases showing that 9 out of 10 adults (15+) across all provinces tune into the medium, radio’s reach and ubiquity is unquestionable. The inclusion of cross device listening questions has revealed that radio is truly the all-the-time, on-the-go channel of choice for South African consumers, she adds. Whilst three quarters of listeners still tune in via traditional radio sets, over a third now utilise their cell phones.


In the moment opportunities

With overall adult radio listening averaging over 4 hours a day, the medium is ideal for “in the moment advertising”, a concept that digital media has appropriated and strongly promoted.  Radio advertising can spur people into action—for example, a fast food chain can drive traffic into its stores by advertising a lunch special at noon. “Radio is immediate and on-the-go, which means it’s still the best way to entice people in store,” says Latief.
A constant companion

The new listening curves demonstrated by the two previous data releases, demolish perceptions that weekday drive time, and in particular, morning shows, is the key time to schedule radio. The curves show extended listener engagement across the day and across the week, and opens up numerous new advertising opportunities. In-car listenership occurs all day. Engagement is even higher than ever during office hours and lunch times. Another finding is that weekends offer substantial audiences, with radio even exceeding the ¼ hour reach of TV on Sundays.

Because the survey tracks cross location and device listenership, it results in increased listenership at the 1/4 hour level. The proportion of heavy listenership (over 50 percent) is higher than we were accustomed to seeing previously. On a station level, this loyal listenership means that it is easier for advertisers to build frequency. Fewer light listeners mean that the past 7 day reach may be lower, but advertisers are being delivered to committed and engaged listeners.


Radio complements TV

The pattern of radio listenership is a perfect complement to TV as it offers advertisers the opportunity to extend and reinforce their TV campaigns at appropriate moments through the consumer’s day.

Diverse appeal

It is also ubiquitous in its coverage of South Africans from all walks of life. Radio’s strength lies in its diversity – it reaches people of every age, LSM (spending power), language and region. It gives people a choice in the language they listen to; what’s more, many stations have built large and deeply engaged regional and digital audiences.

For example, most radio stations have successfully extended their reach into the digital world through mobile apps, streaming radio, podcasts, online news reports and social media. This creates loyal communities that engage and interact with their content – in turn, creating stickiness and engagement for advertisers. Radio is fast becoming a digital first medium.

A committed relationship

“The new data underscores the committed relationship listeners have with radio. Heavy listenership, strong listener loyalty and longer listening hours illustrate the ability of the medium to generate frequency of exposure for advertisers as well as deep engagement. Such qualities should earn radio a higher share of the South African marketing investment.”