Melbourne breakfast: “it's really all up for grabs”

Melbourne breakfast is a the key battleground for radio this year, with radio bosses saying “it's really up up for grabs” following a disruptive first survey for the market.

Nova and Australian Radio Network's (ARN) Kiis network have both made the Melbourne market a key focus for the year, with new breakfast shows of Chrissie, Sam and Brownie, and Matt and Meschel, respectively.

The result has been big moves in audience share, with long time leaders from Southern Cross Austereo (SCA)'s FoxFM dipping by 2.5 percentage points to 6.7% audience share, Kiis sitting relatively flat on 6.2% audience share and Nova with a slight jump to 5.8% audience share.

Nova Entertainment group program director Paul Jackson says Melbourne breakfast is “the one to watch again this year,” with everyone bringing competitive breakfast shows to the market.

“There’ll be a lot of sampling in Melbourne and an awful lot of marketing from all the stations,” Jackson says.

“People will be generally undecided because all the stations are close together. It's really all up for grabs.”

Triple M group content director Mike Fitzpatrick, whose network had a big result in Melbourne breakfast with an 8.5% audience share, says the issue in the market is that all of the Melbourne stations are contemporary hit radio (CHR) formats, making them structurally similar.

“It's like when three Lululemons open up next to you and people don't know where to go to get their activewear,” he says.

ARN national content director Duncan Campbell says strategically Melbourne was always going to be the key battleground, noting that even from a marketing point of view, every billboard was either Fox, Kiis or Nova.

“Our objective initially was to make sure that Kiis was positioned well for future growth in Melbourne, so we're ahead of Nova,” Campbell says.

“Melbourne is a very interesting market and I think the CHR battle between Kiis, Nova and Fox will be a key focus throughout the year.”

Kiis is also positioned well in its other big market, Sydney, with breakfast hosts Kyle and Jackie O taking the top FM position with a 12.5% audience share, the largest they've had since switching to the ARN-owned station.

For more on Survey 1 of the radio ratings click here.

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