Duncan Campbell: survey 3 ARN’s perfect storm
I had a chat to ARN’s National Content Director Duncan Campbell who described ratings day as a ‘perfect storm’ for his network.
"It was nice to consolidate the good book from last time,” he said.
"For ARN to be number one FM in all markets we operate in, and also number one and number two FM in Sydney and Melbourne is fantastic, and also to have number one FM breakfast show in Sydney and Melbourne is also great.”
Campbell said ARN’s success is a combination of strategy being ‘on the money’, the content being strong and the network’s marketing working well.
But he was quick to point out, no-one would rest on their laurels.
We ran through the four markets that ARN operates in.
WSFM was the station of the Sydney results and Campbell said he was pleased to see its ratings grow and for Jonesy and Amanda to be outright number one FM in breakfast.
I asked him how the station’s marketing campaign, when they repositioned as ‘pure gold’ had helped.
“We had Jonesy and Amanda on television, as well as a big outdoor campaign and a digital campaign as well,” Campbell said.
“That’s obviously lifted awareness levels of the station, for the format which we evolved late last year.”
Onto KIIS, and Campbell responded to industry comments that the station’s audience was losing interest.
“The fact is: the station still remains very strong; number one 25-39, number one 25-54 and also strong 40-54 numbers as well,” he said.
“The format was always going to ebb and flow and it had two very big results in survey one and two and we’re just seeing a settling of that.”
“Kyle and Jack are number two FM. That’s still a very strong breakfast show and as Kyle often says: ‘there are eight surveys in a year and it’s nice for us as a company to have the rivalry between the number one and two stations’.”
Campbell said KIIS would continue to be a competitive force in 2014 and would soon have it’s own marketing campaign.
ARN’s Gold was again the number one FM station, while Mix’s Chrissie and Jane moved into the number one FM breakfast position.
“Melbourne’s had a great result,” Campbell said
“We were able to consolidate Gold which I was very happy about.”
“Mix 101.1 has also had a great result, particularly in breakfast.”
Campbell said the movement in the Melbourne ratings said a lot about the market: “It’s in a degree of churn at the moment.”
“It’s lost two heritage breakfast shows, in Fox and Nova and the market hasn’t settled yet, I don’t believe, but it’s great to see, in the early stages, the beneficiaries are the two ARN stations.”
When I asked him if he’d ever seen four station on the same share (Fox, Nova, smooth and MMM), Campbell said: “I don’t recall that to be honest.”
“I think that’s indicative of the market not yet settling. It will be an interesting one to watch.”
Campbell admitted he thought ARN’s 97.3 might have lost their number one spot this survey.
“We had a great battle up there with Nova and we thought that we could lose number one to them this book,” he said.
“But we employed some good contesting and marketing in Brisbane and that’s a great result. Cume is up around 543, so that’s fantastic.”
Campbell said the programming team had spent time looking at 937’s format to decide if it needed to evolve, but they decided they were happy with the way it was positioned.
“We remain very much on strategy,” he said.
“The temptation is to contemporise the station more than we should and we’ve resisted that and remained focused on the adult audience we’re targeting.”
When asked about suitable tactics for 97.3, Campbell said: “We don’t deliver the big cash contesting that the other stations do, but we deliver the play-along contesting that does tend to generate some good time spent listening.”
While Mix’s ratings has been strong for some time, Campbell said the latest results represented the ‘high point of where they ebb and flow throughout the year’.
“16.7 overall and number 1 breakfast show is great,” he said. “Strategically we’re very well positioned.”
Campbell said he would keep a keen eye on how Triple M’s change to a classic format would play out.
“I know Craig (Bruce) said last book they wanted to do something in Adelaide to try and challenge the ARN position there.
But he wondered if, based on the the 2.2% increase in Triple M ratings, from a book that didn’t measure the new format, if the change was premature.
“Certainly, on these numbers, it might indicate they’ve jumped a bit early,” he said.
“That will be interesting to see if that’s true over the next couple of books.”