Radio not converting on air audiences into online audience
In light of the recent online radio listenership scandal MarkLives wondered how offline radio stations are viewing internet radio. We caught up with Attila Bernariusz, divisional head of Kagiso Digital, for some insight into where Kagiso sees online radio headed. Kagiso owns majority stakes in Jacaranda FM and East Coast Radio, minority stakes in OFM (Free State), Gagasi 99.5 (Durban) and Heart 104.9 (Cape Town) and an economic stake in Kaya FM (Johannesburg).
MarkLives: Are all your stations streaming online?
Attila Bernariusz: Yes.
MarkLives: What value and functionality does digital streaming add to radio brands?
Bernariusz: With 20% of Jacaranda’s online streams originating from outside of South Africa’s borders, digital streaming broadens the stations reach. With 93% of Jacaranda’s online visitors also listening to the station via another mechanism other than online, digital streaming broadens the stations frequency with its core listeners.
MarkLives: How are you integrating social media into your offering?
Bernariusz: Readers are able to share Jacaranda’s website content socially. Jacaranda’s DJs are able to post content to Jacaranda’s social pages. Jacaranda launched Ja.fm. Ja.fm uses crowd sourcing to allow online users to vote songs up and down the Ja.fm playlist, thereby determining which songs play next – enabling full participation from the audience.
MarkLives: Your digital radio audience is still quite small – what are the barriers to mass adoption and when do you expect them to be overcome?
Bernariusz: Most radio stations in South Africa have not been able to convert more than 10% of their on air audiences into online audience (online audience divided by on air audience). Of their total online audiences they have converted, not all of them listen online. The challenge is access to the internet, and the cost of doing so. As more South Africans start going online (for more than just email and chat (BBM, WhatsApp, Mxit, etc…)) so too will radio stations grow their online audiences.
MarkLives: Would you ever consider building an online only product (station)
Bernariusz: We have – http://ja.fm/
MarkLives: Do you see online only stations as competing with your stations for a mainstream audience in the future?
Bernariusz: Not at all – they enhance the mainstream radio brands. They allow stations to super serve listeners of a specific genre of music e.g. nonstop Afrikaans music through Ja.fm.
MarkLives: What impact will apps have on radio listenership?
Bernariusz: Until apps gain mass market appeal (high percentage penetration of all adult South Africans) they are unlikely to negatively impact radio listenership figures. Radio enjoys mass market penetration amongst all adult South Africans. What apps do enable is for stations to offer their radio listeners in the higher LSMs with tactical engagement mechanisms, typically to attract advertiser spend.
MarkLives: What do you expect to be the impact to be of subscription streaming services like Simfy?
Bernariusz: Subscription streaming will fragment the means with which higher LSM listeners access music (as has the iPod), but Simfy and other comparative streaming services are not likely to impact mass market radio listenership figures until online (and subsequently online listening or streaming services) become ubiquitous.
MarkLives: Can you give us some indication of the digital listenership of some of your radio stations?
Bernariusz: It is important to note that these stats have been referenced in context i.e. relative to the respective station’s on-air audiences, their respective online audiences and their respective collective social media audiences.
For Jacaranda FM:
· Jacaranda FM had circa 19,000 unique listeners (or as close as we are able to determine) listen to Jacaranda FM over the last 30 days (mid-July to mid-August).
· Jacaranda FM’s daily audience was on average 655 unique listeners (or as close as we are able to determine) over the last 30 days.
· The average streamlining session is 43 minutes over the last 30 days.
· On average each unique listener (or as close as we are able to determine) extends their listening experience of the Jacaranda brand by 1 hour 33 minutes per month.
· The “as close as we can determine” means that the best we can determine a person in digital is unique IP addresses. As you know many corporates have 1 public IP address. Therefore multiple employees may be considered as a unique person.
For East Coast Radio:
· East Coast Radio had circa 18,000 unique listeners (or as close as we are able to determine) who listened to East Coast Radio over the last 30 days.
· East Coast Radio’s daily audience was on average circa 600 unique listeners (or as close as we are able to determine) over the last 30 days.
· The average streamlining session is 24 minutes over the last 30 days.
· On average each unique listeners (or as close as we are able to determine) extends their listening experience of the East Coast Radio brand by 51 minutes per 30 day cycle.