Duncan Campbell on Melbourne: “We want to see growth”

Staff Writer

Following Survey #2 for 2015, we spoke with a couple of the Group Content Directors.  Earlier it was Craig Bruce on SCA, next was Nova Entertainment’s Paul Jackson and right now we talk with Duncan Campbell from ARN.

We’ll get Duncan’s perspective on the most competitive market in the country right now, Melbourne, and if he is happy with KIIS 101.1’s performance.

We’ll explore what’s next for the KIIS network and what’s going on in Perth around 96FM, and any changes on the cards there.

Blair: Another strong result in Sydney for KIIS and WSFM.

Duncan:Yeah the duopoly strategy is playing out as we would like. WS had a softer start to the year than was expected. It’s beginning to strengthen now, which is good. And KIIS also continues to strengthen.

So, two very strong stations. KIIS for breakfast with Kyle and Jackie in ten shares which is fantastic. I think they are producing some of the best content they have produced for years.

Daytime numbers across the board for KIIS are very strong and very encouraging to see Jonesy and Amanda move forward into a very strong number two FM position in Breakfast as well.

Positive results all round for the duopoly in Sydney for us.

Hughesy and KateBlair: You’ve got to be happy with Hughesy & Kate, they have grown nearly a point to be #2 FM in Drive.

Duncan: They had a steady result in Melbourne, a declining market and they have had an up book in Sydney. They have also grown in Brisbane and Adelaide as well. These markets aren’t used to  Hughesy & Kate. They are a relatively new show, so to get that sort of traction this early on is really encouraging and I can sense further growth for that show as we move into the year.

Blair: Let’s swing down to Melbourne, you had a pretty good start to 2015 with survey one, is there a little bit of coming back down to earth with both stations, they have both come down this round?

Duncan: Well I think the market has gone down. That’s the reality. I think A: it’s too early to call. B: the market remains very unsettled. That is highlighted in the cume movements across the board. We’ve got Fox losing 100,000, Gold increasing 75,000, KIIS down 66, Triple M up 40, smooth down 47. There seems to be a lot of movement going on at the moment. There is continued aggressive marketing by all three networks.

Matt & JaneTo say that we’re happy with the results would be untrue, we are not happy with the KIIS results and I think Gold should be stronger than it is at the moment.

I think for KIIS the station is getting better, week after week and certainly breakfast continues to improve.  The challenge for us is to amplify that content and pushing that out social as much as we can and getting credit. And really trying to create noise above the already noisy market that exists. It’s a really challenging dynamic here in Melbourne and as I say, far from settled and a bit too early to call.


Blair: Brisbane, killing it with 973.

Duncan: Brisbane really continues to be strong. The surprise there is KQ being ahead of hit105 and also Triple M on 8.7. So the duopoly there is working really, really well, it’s one FM and one AM in terms of the stations. 973 is strong, Nova is our main competitor as they have been for a long time now, so the two horse race is alive and well in Brisbane.

Blair: I asked Paul Jackson if there was going to be any flip-flopping between you and Nova like last year.

Duncan:Well we were out in front 7 out of 8 surveys last year, the gap is there. But we don’t underestimate Nova. They are tactically very strong, very creative and the format remains strong. I think in the midst of a weak hit format Nova is going to do better than they did last year. So the challenge for 973 is to remain dominant, and looking good so far.

Blair: What makes 973 stand out in the Brisbane market?

Duncan: It has a strong breakfast show and a broad music appeal, so it captures some very strong adult demos and that gives the time spent listening and obviously increases its share.

It’s a well put together and well packaged station. It’s very Brisbane as well.

Blair: Last time we talked you had just taken over 96FM in Perth, a bit of a flat result this time round?

Duncan:To be honest it’s encouraging they remain number two, that’s a good position to be in ahead of any changes we plan to make over there. We are still formulating and researching the market in terms of what our plans are. It’s a good result for those guys to be honest. They would be happy with those numbers today and so they should be.

Blair: Adelaide

Duncan: Adelaide continues to be strong. MIX’s 13.6 versus Nova’s 12. Again, Nova is our main competitor. You’ve got Cruise on 8.3, our other station. Triple M on 8.4 and hit on 6.

So it’s really an ARN/Nova market again.

What’s highlighted again in this survey is the ongoing weakness of the hit format, there’s just no traction at all so far which would be concerning for the guys at SCA. Also concerning given the fact that Hamish & Andy are due on the air in July. So they will be coming on to stations which have fairly low shares and also fairly low audiences. That’s going to be interesting, to see how that plays out in the second half of the year.

Blair: What are your next steps for the KIIS network?

Duncan:Our focus is very much on Melbourne. We want to see growth there. And Melbourne is the most competitive market in the country. I don’t think we have seen a market this competitive for years and years and years. And that’s where our focus is.

We are very happy with the other stations. The only other piece of work we have to do really is look at 96FM Perth and what we do to evolve that to ensure that it gets into a growth phase and challenges Mix94.5

Blair: KIIS96 sounds nice?

Duncan:(Laughs) We won’t be changing the name of the station, but the brand will fall into line with the others in terms of the logo, look and feel. That will certainly happen.

And from an ARN perspective nationally we remain the number one network around the country and this survey marks the first time ever that SCA has been a number three network, so it’s quite an historical day really. And a real cementing of the change of the guard, so to speak.

Blair: What are you hoping for in Survey 3?

Duncan: KIIS in Melbourne to move forward particularly in Breakfast. It remains very close with Fox. What we would love to do is beat Fox in Breakfast next survey.

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