Nova’s Paul Jackson on putting survey 4 into perspective

After new lockdowns led to a mixed fourth radio ratings of the year, Nova Entertainment's Paul Jackson speaks to Mumbrella's Calum Jaspan about how this all plays out, breaking down what the latest survey means for Nova.

After a particularly strong third survey of the year, Nova Entertainment’s fourth radio ratings served up a mixed bag, with a return to the mean for some stations, the ongoing lockdowns provided some speed bumps and continued form for others.

Asked how he felt this book went for Nova, programming and chief marketing officer, Paul Jackson was relatively optimistic about the past month.

“It was pretty good. There’s obviously ebbs and flows in every one of them. In the last survey, you had the bulk of our marketing in it, we did a big campaign, TV, bringing back Nova Boy and outdoor stuff, so that as a network, was our best share we’ve ever achieved in our history.”

Jackson congratulated Kyle and Jackie O on their performance

Jackson referenced Nova Boy, which was instrumental for the network in delivering some of Nova’s best results ever last book. This time around, Smoothfm in Sydney took a slight hit, ceding the top FM spot to KIIS, following Kyle and Jackie O’s historic results.

Last month, Jackson told Mumbrella that Kyle and Jackie O had a real shot at knocking Ben Fordham off the top spot, and that is just what they have done this month, building on last book’s 12.9% share, rising to 15.5%. Rather focusing on what might have gone wrong this month in the Sydney market for Nova and Smooth, Jackson took the opportunity to take his hat off to what the network rival’s pairing have achieved.

“Kyle and Jackie’s performance in Sydney is unheralded. The previous survey with 12.9 was their highest in their history. So to suddenly do a 15.5, not even close to 12.9, to go that high is extraordinary, that doesn’t happen. And I think for anyone to have achieved that, you’ve got to congratulate them, honestly that is pretty special. Kyle Sandilands is is a bit of a radio God.”

Jackson also made clear that while KIIS’ numbers were great, this wasn’t the time to be criticising Ben Fordham’s figures, as he still put up large figures, just over a year on from taking over from Alan Jones.

“So I want to congratulate KIIS, and Kyle and Jackie. But I wouldn’t be knocking Ben Fordham either. I think those are pretty good numbers.”

In a sense, the numbers from KIIS this survey add further perspective to figures that would otherwise be seen as great for Nova’s stations. Smoothfm backed up last months figures with a 10% share, despite a slight drop, it is still a strong showing.

“We’d expect Smooth to be number one with the 10% share. So nothing really materially wrong or any issue at Smooth, that’s a very strong number for Smooth. And usually it is number one at that number, it’s an extraordinary one.”

On whether Smooth could realistically catch 2GB, Jackson says that it isn’t really something that they are fixated on at this stage.

“I was saying before, it’s not something we focus on. But when you’re asked the question, could it happen? Yeah, absolutely it could […] but probably not likely to happen anytime soon. But long term, at some stage, it is one of the things that could happen.

“And Nova is the most listened to station in Sydney, it has the highest cume. So Nova is still a hugely popular station going well, but for sure, ratings are kind of in the middling section along with WS(FM) and Smooth as well.”

A wide field in Melbourne proves difficult for the FM stations to stand out, and with two weeks in full lockdown this book, and several more weeks working from home, AM stations 3AW and ABC gained, while most FM stations, including Nova took a slight hit.

Chrissy, Sam and Browny were down 1.2 points to 6.9% in Melbourne

“Two out of these five weeks, the first two of the survey, Melbourne was back in a lockdown. So it was a bit of a handbrake across all the stations. You can see that Fox down 0.8, Gold down 0.7, Nova about a point, everyone’s affected a bit by that. I think everyone’s gonna be happy with what they get this time around, because of a bit of a surge to the ABC and huge numbers for 3AW.

“I don’t think we should beat ourselves up over these things. People weren’t listening much to breakfast shows, we’ve got a natural loss of typical listeners, out of their normal routine. Go back four weeks, and it was equal first place with Gold. So I think measure that survey in the weeks going forward, and it will be much tighter again.”

Beyond the main markets of Melbourne and Sydney though, Jackson was very pleased with how things are progressing at the network, with continued success in each of the Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide markets.

“Beyond that, everything else is very strong. Brisbane, and Perth are market-leading stations, going at some of their all time high numbers. Adelaide are also going very strongly with Ben and Liam.”

In Adelaide, FIVEaa had a strong showing, with AM again reigning supreme, in particular at breakfast where David and Will took top spot with a 15.5% share.

David and Will led breakfast in Adelaide

“We’ve got a great show, with David and Will. We also live in a moment in time where there is a news agenda that has never been more full of riveting moments for the audience, so you expect these talk stations are going to go pretty well.”

On the FM side of things, Jackson was also happy with how things are progressing at Nova 91.9.

Ben and Liam from Nova 91.9

“From Nova point of view, Ben and Liam, right from the start, a year ago, on breakfast have been performing extremely well. It [Nova 91.9] tends to dominate, if you just measure under 40 and measure say 25 to 34, 18 to 34 year olds, all demo’s that Nova absolutely dominated. You’ve got to go much older before you start seeing another station getting ahead of us.”

In Perth, Nova 93.7 stayed on top of the overall ratings, with Nathan, Nat and Shaun also remaining on top at breakfast, despite a small drop, leading with a 14.5% share.

“Nathan, Nat and Shaun, think Kyle and Jackie O To be honest. They’ve been in the marketplace for over a decade. Clearly the most loved breakfast show on the radio and they tend to dominate.”

The summary on another radio ratings for Paul Jackson, “All to play for. It’s a strong, strong book for us. Nothing material will change. And we’ve got to be happy with that.”


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