Magic makes strong debut in first radio survey of 2019

The results of the first radio survey of 2019 demonstrate a continued growth in commercial listenership, with MediaWorks' new radio brand Magic making its debut as the third biggest station in the country.

Overall radio listenership has increased by almost 22,000, with MediaWorks increasing its total audience by 19,500, according to Thursday's GfK Total New Zealand Commercial Radio Survey.

Formely RadioLIVE, Magic Talk launched in January of this year. The Magic brand also encompasses Magic Music, and together the two components have since secured an 8.1 percent nationwide market share.

Leon Wratt, MediaWorks Radio's group content director for music, said he was pleased to see the station's rebrand had paid off.

"It's great when a plan comes together - I was really hoping for a result like this for Magic. I think we've got a really exciting brand which is quite unique in the market," said Wratt.

"There was definitely a risk in Auckland because of the frequency change, so there's no doubt that if I was nervous about anything, it was about that."

Magic increased its Auckland share by 0.4 percent for a total reach of 5.6 percent, and also led by share in Hawke's Bay, Nelson and Manawatu.

Talk radio stations had strong results across the board, with Mike Hosking's slot on NZME station Newstalk ZB performing particularly well.

"Hosking has had a great book in Auckland," said Wratt.

"NZME will be really be excited about that result and the way Newstalk ZB has performed."

Wratt says the line-up changes made to Magic Talk's personalities helped audiences "connect more" with the brand, highlighting Sean Plunket, Peter Williams and Ryan Bridge as strong drawcards.

MediaWorks' profile of music stations dominated the top six spots for listeners aged 24-54, with The Breeze leading the with an 8.3 share in that demographic.

The Rock came in second place, armed with a new drive show line-up featuring Duncan Heyde and Jay Reeve, which Wratt was pleased to say had performed well.  

More FM and The Edge followed, with The Edge retaining the largest cumulative audience in the country, reaching 608,500 listeners nationwide. The Sound and Mai FM also saw success in the commercially important 25-54 audience.

Wratt added that crucial to commercial radio's growth in an ever-changing media landscape is a multi-platform approach.

The latest iteration of MediaWorks' digital audio streaming platform Rova hopes to continue to provide a place for audience growth across all age demographics.

"We're definitely seeing it work across all of our stations," said Wratt.

Younger listeners tended to be more familiar with the technology, however Wratt said older demographics were embracing the opportunity to "whip out their iPads". 

"The pickup with that audience was a lot higher than possibly what we expected it to be," he said.

MediaWorks, which owns Newshub, said says the number of users on the Rova app has seen an increase of 28,000 per month, with 442,000 total app downloads to date.

The full GfK Total New Zealand Commercial Radio Survey can be read on its official website.