Curiosamente, il calo di passione non riguarda l'emittente numero uno, RTL. La quale si permette il lusso di battere il canale pubblico France Inter. Male le stazioni musicali più giovanili, ad eccezione, anche qui, di Virgin Radio, che da gennaio ha preso il posto di Europe 2.
French radio audience tumbles, not RTL
Michael Hedges April 21, 2008
Each audience survey release seems to put broadcasters a bit more on edge. Some more than others, obviously; the French national radio audience is making a painfully obvious shift away from music to news and talk.
birdOne French newspaper writer, on last weeks’ release of the Médiamétrie January-March national audience survey, wrote, “la radio perd des plumes,” idiomatically, ‘got their fingers burnt.’ Noting that while French newspaper writers only like French newspapers, the story does carry a definite worry. Total radio listening in France dropped to 82.7% from 84% in the same period 2007. About 500,000 fewer French people didn’t turn on the radio. Aside from the always scant July-August traditional French holiday months, it’s the lowest listening level in five years.
There’s no panic at RTL. The number one French radio channel continues to gain audience, now 13.2% market share, up from 12.1% in the same period 2007, up from 10.8% in 2006. Just as UK broadcasters talk about the ‘gap’ between the BBC’s combined radio audience and that of commercial broadcasters, French broadcaster could start talking about a ‘gap’ between RTL and whichever channel is number two. That ‘gap’ is now 4.6% separating RTL from number two France Inter. In the same period 2007 it was 3.4%. In the same period 2006 it was 2.2%.
Four of the top 10 national channels gained audience share year on year. Of the six losing share, three dropped more than 0.1%: NRJ (-0.6%), France Bleu (-0.6%) and Nostalgie (-0.4%). While NRJ nominally targets young people the 25 year old brand attracts more listeners over 35 years than younger. Dropping out of the top 10 is Cherie FM, which targets 25 to 50 year olds. It fell to 3.2% market share from 4.0% one year on, the biggest loss of any of the rated French national channels.
Other than RTL, channels in the top ten gaining audience were RMC (+0.3%), Fun Radio (+0.4%) and Skyrock (+0.1%). Fun Radio, targeting 13 to 24 year olds, joined the top 10 at number 9 and has clawed its way up the charts for more than three years, proving that re-branding a national radio channel in France is a very long process.
While significantly fewer citizens of France tuned into radio during this winter reporting period, those who did listened longer. C’est n’pas normal! Time spent listening to all radio reached 180 minutes, Monday through Friday; three minutes longer than the same period one year on. Indeed, it, too, is a modern record. (See graphs here)
The French national general interest channels (RTL, France Inter, Europe 1, et.al.) generally have longer time spent listening than the national music channels (NRJ, Nostalgie, Fun Radio, et.al). The general interest channels increased time spent listening to 161 minutes from 156 minutes year on year while the music channels lost two minutes of average time spent listening to 121 minutes. RTL gained a whopping 12 minutes in time spent listening over the same period 2007. Low rated (but dearly loved) Rire et Chansons gained 7 minutes and Fun Radio gained 5 minutes. The great programming wisdom proves true. In a competitive market, marketing alone is no substitute for good programming that gives listeners reason to stay longer and come back often.
And, yes, Lagardères Virgin Radio posted its first ratings since the great switch from Europe 2 on January 1st. A 3.3% market share is respectable, and a gain from Europe 2’s final figure (2.9%) in November-December 2007.