Survey Shakeup: How cume numbers can flip a survey result on its head
In Australian radio, survey day has traditionally been about who’s first past the post. That is, which station or daypart holds the greatest average audience share of listening (as a percentage).
Ratings are a key part of the marketing side of radio, with advertising being one of, if not the most important cog in the commercial radio machine.
In Australia, advertisers and agencies have always bought advertising on radio based on share, not cume.
But in the UK, and other parts of the world, cumulative audience data (cume) is the key measurement when it comes to gauging success.
After his first survey in Australia, former Absolute Radio host Christian O’Connell told Radio Today that he felt ratings Down Under were “sharper” and that the stakes were higher.
Fellow British expat and NOVA Entertainment group program director Paul Jackson often points to cume numbers on survey day when speaking with Radio Today, as a sign that all may not be what it seems, or at least what a share rating may suggest.
In fact, if you look closely at key metro markets, measuring cume numbers often paints quite a different story and can reveal a completely different leaderboard.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is Jackson’s stations that tend to dominate the market when it comes to cume.
Below, Radio Today compares the cume and share results for the Top 5 stations in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane from Survey #7.
Nova 96.9 is #1 in Sydney on cume with 986,000 ears. Despite losing -19K listeners, it’s almost 100,000 ahead of its nearest rivals KIIS FM with 903,000 (+40K).
2GB, which streams ahead in share, doesn’t even make the Top 5 when it comes to cume. It has 587,000 listeners and fell by -90K in Survey #7.
None of this is particularly surprising, and it reinforces the idea that listeners of 2GB are fiercely loyal and are engaging more often, but that there are less of them overall (and falling).
Melbourne paints a similar story, with traditional #1 share station 3AW not figuring in the Top 5 cume stations.
3AW has 668,000 listeners, and despite gaining +31K this survey remains outside the frontrunners and below ABC Melbourne with 982,000.
Fox FM are streaks ahead of its competitors with over a million cume listeners. Nova 100, who don’t traditionally figure when it comes to the top share stations, is in equal second place with Gold104.3.
If cume was the key measurement in Brisbane, Nova 106.9 would be celebrating a big win this survey instead of Triple M.
Nova is top of the pile, with 577,000 cume audience (-23K) ahead of Hit105 with 498,000, then 97.3FM with 493,000, and finally share winners Triple M with 413,000.
Catch up on all the results of Survey #7 here.