My last post about the development of the Norwegian radio market after the FM-shutdown gained (according to WP statistics) quite a bit of interest in both Norway and the UK. So hello first to these new readers, and this time I am going to write in English.
At the moment there is a lot of news about whether or not the digital transformation of radio in Norway is a success – not surprisingly those who have acted on behalf of the shutdown before see the positive sides: The number of DAB+ sets was at record heights last year, and the weekly cume of radio went down just a little bit.
I did some research on my own. There is a lot of information on the official ratings website of Kantar TNS.
Keep in mind that the 2017 data is a little tricky, as the shutdown of commercial radio stations and the public broadcaster did not happen at the same time in each shutdown region – the commerical stations were glad that NRK had to shut down first.
(Shutdown plan Norway, source: https://radio.no/2015/04/norway-to-switch-off-fm-in-2017/)
Given the small shut down areas at the beginning of 2017 (only 18,4% of the Norwegians experienced the NRK-FM-shutdown till 25.04.2017, for the commercial stations it was just 4,7%) we can compare the start of 2018 to the start of 2017.
The radio TNS website provides information on a weekly basis on daily reach (in percent and 1000s), listened minutes and market share.
The average of the daily reach of radio over the first seven weeks shows a significant decline in radio usage: The percentage of Norwegians listening to radio on a daily basis has declined from 67,6% to 56,8%, that means that radio has lost 16% of its audience.
This also shows in the week-by-week data:
Unfortunately there is no public data on the TNS website on the distribution channels: The numbers above include streaming and listening via DTV, so the pure DAB+ reach is even lower.
One of the major reasons the commercial stations demanded the FM switch-down (apart from getting rid of license fees) was the expectation of a more leveled play field: The public broadcaster operated three out of five nation wide licenses, the commercial broadcasters P4 and Radio Norge (Bauer Group) just one each. Having several channels for each commercial groups could lead to a more balanced market with the commercial stations grabbing some market share from the public broadcaster.
This did not happen: The share of all groups is about the same. The average market share of NRK in the first seven weeks of 2018 was 68,7%, up from 67,5% last year. Slight decline for P4 Group from 22,5% to 20,8%, with Bauer being stable close to 10%.
Summary: Radio has lost 16% of its audience, the play field between commercial broadcasters and the public NRK has not changed – but for its total size.
Does not look like a success (especially for commercial radio) – yet. Of course there is hope, that the listeners will come back – however, until now the record sales figures of DAB+ sets have not translated yet into higher listening figures.