2UE focus on lifestyle

Staff Writer

2UE has been a ratings challenge for the old Fairfax Radio for many years, struggling in the shadow of the dominant two talk stations in the market – 2GB and ABC702.

Once the decision was taken to retain 2UE and offload 2CH following the merger with Macquarie, the 2UE positioning was always going to have to move to both allow 2GB a free run, and to look to have some kind of differentiation in the market.

The new position foreshadowed some time ago by Macquarie, is a ‘lifestyle format’ and it launched this weekend.

The 2UE Weekend Breakfast hosts “George & Paul” spoke to David Koch – who is also hosting a segment on the station – about the new changes below.

National Executive Producer of 2UE, Michael Thompson said:

“2UE Talking Lifestyle is a first for Australian radio. The powerhouse combination of George and Paul remains the bedrock of our weekend programming, but now they lead into a high profile line-up of experts in lifestyle content – David Koch (Your Money & Your Life), Catriona Rowntree (Journeys to Come), Sally Obermeder (SWIISH).

Weekdays still start with the wit and banter of John Stanley and Garry Linnell, before rolling into some of the biggest names in lifestyle – Linda Ross (Talking Gardens), Peter Switzer (Personal Finance) and Kim McCosker (Living Fresh).

2UE Talking Lifestyle is taking a deeper look at some of the key lifestyle topics that our listeners want to hear more about. Programs will be anchored by experienced radio professionals including Tim Webster, Ed Phillips, Luke Bona & Clinton Maynard but the emphasis is on entertaining, informative content – travel, food, finance, gardening, DIY, health, technology and more”.

The new format is heavy on client integration and long-form lifestyle content – and it appears clear that the intent is to appeal to potential advertisers on the basis of those available opportunities rather than selling a ratings performance, in the short-term at least whilst the station looks to build share.

2UE has also launched a slick new website.

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Anthony The Koala
6 Jun 2017 - 7:24 pm

The GFK ratings, for Survey 3, 2017, indicate that the 2UE Talking Lifestyle has not beat the rating of 5.5 when it was a talk station. The current overall rating of 3.5 is a 24% (23.913%) drop from the ‘promising’ rating of 4.6 in the previous survey.

Perhaps block programming of one hour of travelling, finance, gardening may not be as effective as the ‘traditional’ three hour blocks of talk, interviews, ‘regular segments’, talkback and music. Management did the wrong thing in removing Mike Jeffreys who rated at least 5.5 in the evenings. Now it’s 2.8.

On the other hand, management may well be happy. From a business view, it may be more profitable to run a radio station with this format than running a traditional talk format. But I’m not privy to the figures.

Anthony of Belfield

Anthony The Koala
11 Jul 2017 - 3:58 pm

According to the latest survey published by gfk, 11/07/2017, the ratings have dropped to an average of 2.9. This is despite the heavy cross-promotion by its sibling station 2GB. The overall drop from the end of its ‘newstalk’ format to now is (5.5-2.9)/5.5 * 100 = 47.3%.

The real sustainers are the breakfast shows “John & Garry” weekdays and “George & Paul” weekends. They are both a newstalk/current affairs format. The worst performers are drivetime and late nights with ratings of 0.8 and 1.8 respectively.

Bring back Mike Jeffries and Stuart Bocking. They were rating higher.

Source: http://www.gfk.com/fileadmin/user_upload/dyna_content/AU/Documents/Share_Summary_Reports/Metro/2017/S42017/GfK_Summary_Report_Sydney_Survey_4_2017.pdf

As I said before, perhaps the lifestyle talk format is more profitable with low ratings than a 24 hour newstalk station. But then if the station’s ratings continue to decline, how profitable can it be?

Anthony of Belfield

Anthony The Koala
5 Oct 2017 - 10:24 am

From my last posting, “Talking Lifestyle” (‘TL’) appears to be improving in the ratings, to 3.7. The breakfast shows ‘John and Garry’ and ‘George and Paul’ are the highest rating segments.

However, there appears to be a problem of accepting the ‘TL’ format in Melbourne and Brisbane with overall ratings of 0.4 and 0.6 respectively which is respectively under the ratings for RN at 2.3 and 2.2. It appears that RN receives consistent ratings of about 2+ in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

In Sydney, the ‘TL’ format’s ratings has been steady. It may well be more viable/profitable than when it rated 5.5 under the old ‘newstalk’ format. However, unless the operations of ‘TL’ in Melbourne and Brisbane are profitable, it may be necessary to look at ‘cutting your losses’. Examples include the CBC Sydney-Melbourne (1980s) and MTR 1377 (2010-2012). For the latter, despite the same fine presenters who were on MTR, the same former MTR presenters who ‘rate their socks off’ on 2GB.

My analysis, MTR was a music to a talk format change. Similary the ‘Magic’ branded stations changing to ‘TL’ are a music to talk format change. Radical changes from music to talk can damage the station. However, newstalk to lifestyle as in 2UE’s change though there was a 38% decline in audience is still talk, but not damaging as to having close to zero ratings.

Thank you,
Anthony of exciting Belfield

Sydney: http://www.gfk.com/fileadmin/user_upload/dyna_content/AU/Documents/Share_Summary_Reports/Metro/2017/S62017/GfK_Summary_Report_Sydney_Survey_6_2017.pdf

Melbourne: http://www.gfk.com/fileadmin/user_upload/dyna_content/AU/Documents/Share_Summary_Reports/Metro/2017/S62017/GfK_Summary_Report_Melbourne_Survey_6_2017.pdf


Anthony The Koala
19 Dec 2017 - 10:58 am

For the final survey of 2017, it appears that 2UE’s rating are stable at about 3.5. It is 4th in the 65+ market with a share of 8.1%. George & Paul on weekends has a respectable 7.2% market share and rates higher than most of the music stations.

However for Melbourne and Brisbane listeners, the ratings are bleak with Melbourne rating 0.3% and Brisbane rating 0.5%.

It appears from my earlier post that if you have the following format change the ratings will be:
Talk (news) > Talk (lifestyle) – ratings may fall, but stabilise. Eg 2UE
Talk > Music: ratings drop, 2GB’s change from talk to mellow rock 1976-1982
Music > Talk whether news or lifestyle: ratings drop. 3MP music to MTR 1377 – even with the best talk presenters in the country who were successful on 3AW and 2GB the ratings for MTR dropped. Also Melbourne and Brisbane’s “Magic” branded stations from Talk to Music.
Music (type A) > Music (type B) – varies. 2DAY from adult contemporary to dance in 1989 ratings increased. 2CH from beautiful/elevator music to a hackneyed variation of hits and memories (oldies), ratings dropped from top rating in the 1970s/1980s till the late 1980s. Perhaps when changing music formats, it could slowly include music from ‘type A’ into ‘type B’ until ‘type A’ has little or no play in ‘type B’s format.

Anthony of downtown Belfield

Sydney: http://www.gfk.com/fileadmin/user_upload/dyna_content/AU/Documents/Share_Summary_Reports/Metro/2017/S82017/GfK_Summary_Report_Sydney_Survey_8_2017.pdf

Melbourne: http://www.gfk.com/fileadmin/user_upload/dyna_content/AU/Documents/Share_Summary_Reports/Metro/2017/S82017/GfK_Summary_Report_Melbourne_Survey_8_2017.pdf

Brisbane: http://www.gfk.com/fileadmin/user_upload/dyna_content/AU/Documents/Share_Summary_Reports/Metro/2017/S82017/GfK_Summary_Report_Brisbane_Survey_8_2017.pdf

Anthony The Koala
25 Feb 2018 - 6:09 am

It appears that the “Talking Lifestyle” format is under ‘review’ with the stations contributing 7% of total revenue, source https://mumbrella.com.au/macquarie-medias-profits-fall-39-despite-revenue-climb-499603. That does not indicate the breakdown of that 7%. My academic guess is the bulk of the 7% is from Sydney given that the Brisbane and Melbourne stations don’t rate.

I still hold that when a station goes from talk format to another talk format, the ratings may fall or stabilise such as 2UE. I believe the overall downturn is due to the fragmented nature of the “Talking Lifestyle”. There is a corollary with “Radio National” in that the programs are fragmented, “Law Report”, “Life Matters”, “God Forbid” and “Science Show” and thus may not appeal to a broad spectrum of listeners. Commercial radio talk formats are in block formats of three to four hours, not one hour of gardening, then one hour of finance then one hour of cooking.

When it comes that a music format station changes to a talk format, the ratings fall. What happened to 3AK when it was ‘beautiful music’ then becoming a talk station networked between 3AK and 2UE. Similarly 3MP (music) to MTR (talk), ‘Magic’ (Melbourne & Brisbane) to Talking Lifestyle. Ratings declined signficantly. Nothing wrong with the presenters on these music-to-talk stations, many of whom are successful in their own right.

While I am not privy to the breakdown of MML’s finances, I’d keep 2UE in some kind of talk format but cut my losses with the Brisbane and Melboune Talking Lifestyle format. Perhaps revert to automated music. For example in the early 1990s, 2SM played ‘beautiful music’ on automation for a few months and it received its highest ratings.

Anthony of beautiful Belfield


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