Drive time is heating up with Hamish and Andy preparing to rejoin the airwaves on Southern Cross Austereo's Today's Hit Network. But Australian Radio Network CEO Ciaran Davis has played down the move, saying it “won't be the silver bullet some people want it to be”.
Speaking at an up-front style event for parent group APN in Sydney last night, Davis said there was no question that drive was going to be “an incredibly hot button across this industry for the next six months.”
“I'm delighted Hamish and Andy are coming on board because a rising tide does lift other boats,” Davis said. “But I can promise you that the drive slot is going to be incredibly competitive and [Hamish and Andy] won't be the silver bullet that some people want it to be.”
Davis pointed to the different radio landscape that exists now compared to 2010 when the comedy-duo last hosted their drive show, The Hamish and Andy Show, full time across the then named SCA Today Network.
He said at the time Hamish and Andy comprised the only national drive show syndicated across national networks, while now the slot is more competitive, with ARN's Kiis network's Hughsey and Kate, Nova's Kate, Tim and Marty and Triple M's Merrick Watts.
“It is a very different competitive landscape to what it was in 2010 when Hamish and Andy were on. They got all the attention as the network drive show in the market at that stage. Today we have four.
“Drive accounts for about 12% of overall lightening so even if Hamish and Andy were doing the shares that they were doing in 2010 – which is doubtful because they are up against three other national shows – the overall impact in terms to the overall station and network is not as strong.
In addition, Davis added that “the strength of any drive show, anywhere in the world is driven by breakfast.”
Kiis' national drive show – comprised of Dave Hughes and Kate Langbroek – started this year and Davis claims is already showing a “very strong start to the year”. He pointed to a 1.36 million audience with a 10.1 noting they were doing particularly well in Melbourne, where they had previously been on air for the Nova network, but said they were doing well in other markets where they started off relatively unknown.
ARN revamped its offering to the Melbourne market this year by rebranding the station under its “Kiis banner” and shaking up its talent line up, to take advantage of the lucrative radio market in the city. It also rolled out the Kiis branding across its station networks, as it looked to increase its integrated offering to both listeners and advertisers.
Davis added that for ARN “the drive market is critically important”.
“So no matter what you may see, hear or read about how strong Hamish and Andy might be, I can tell you that ARN and Nova and Triple M are going to be fighting very hard to make sure that actual share doesn't come back.”
“We're incredibly happy with the drive show we have.”
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