SCA’s Dave Cameron on why talent is key to audience and dollars

Growth in audience shows engagement according to Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) head of content, Dave Cameron. And while audience growth might not correlate to share increases, he tells Mumbrella’s Olivia Kruimel, that engagement for breakfast radio “has never been stronger”.

At the start of the year, Dave Cameron unequivocally told Mumbrella that he would not touch the new breakfast line ups for two years.

Fast forward to survey two of 2021, and despite a dip for the Sydney lineup, he’s staying true to that commitment. “Unequivocally none” he tells Mumbrella. “We made all our changes last year. We move forward with consistency and confidence for all the changes that we made at the end of last year.”

Those changes are of course the Sydney 2Day FM new breakfast line-up Hughesy, Ed and Erin; Marty Sheargold in Melbourne and in Perth Pete, Matt and Kymba.

“What we are looking for in all of the changes we have made, the biggest KPI for us with new shows is audience cum[ulative], of show and station. Because that is actual listeners coming in,” says Cameron. “We look at the growth coming in versus share. We are more interested in seeing the audience coming in. In particular, the target audience for that brand.”

For the Sydney 2Day FM breakfast, that target is women 30 plus, while for Triple M it is males. “When we look at Perth and see males coming into Perth Triple M, we consider that a big success for 10 weeks in, same for Marty, who is now number one in his male 25-54 target,” adds Cameron.

Hughesy, Ed & Erin is 2Day’s breakfast line up 

While the Sydney breakfast offering dipped slightly this survey compared to last, Cameron says that the results are a reminder of “how consistent and committed and how patient you need to be with new shows” and how long it takes to grow an audience. “Particularly in a market where you have pretty much every other show, on air for upwards of ten years.”

With regards to target audience, the network’s Hit brand nationally targets women, while Triple M is male skewed. “That’s the focus of all of our content and music and commercial appeal,” explains Cameron. “Consistent targets across the country, what changes is how we are going in each market.”

Dave Cameron

While audience numbers increasing and hitting target demographics are one measure of success for Cameron, the other is commercial and he says that there is “a lot” of market confidence around new line-ups and shows.

“We have always prided ourselves on building shows that are not only ratings successful but commercially successful as well. The bulk of them have had strong early success in client sponsorship, so we know there is market confidence around our line-up,” he explains. “They deliver great client tactical content.”

Dynamic duo Carrie Bickmore and Tommy Little in particular has always been highly regarded, shares Cameron, “and highly wanted by clients for integration,” while the Mick Molloy show also has a “huge commercial appeal”.

According to Cameron, clients want to get involved in shows with talent that create content for those clients. “We put in strong high profile talent into our shows to be able to deliver client integrated solutions; that continues to grow on an annual basis.”

In the past 12 months the network has also seen a “rapid growth” in its podcast offerings, which Cameron attributes to people moving from transport to on-demand listening at home or while exercising. This growth in audience is also translating into increased briefs from clients for digital integrations.

“As the commercial market continues to understand the mass appeal of podcasts, we are seeing more commercial investment into podcast sponsorships,” he says. “It’s buoyant and will continue to grow year-on-year.”

As part of its digital diversification, SCA’s LiSTNR platform offers radio, podcasts, music, and news, including more than 50 breakfast shows a day nationally. Including the newly launched Australia Today.

“We will continue to invest in great content, great talent, not only from a broadcast point of view, but from a podcast point of view moving forward,” he says. “It is a huge growth area for us, not only commercially, but from an audience consumption point of view.”


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