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'The Budapest, Hungary Radio Market: October 1997' by Grant Goddard

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An analysis of the radio broadcasting market in Budapest, Hungary and recommendations to create a successful commercial music radio station, written by Grant Goddard in October 1997 for Wodlinger International.

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'The Budapest, Hungary Radio Market: October 1997' by Grant Goddard

  1. 1. THE BUDAPEST, HUNGARY RADIO MARKET by GRANT GODDARD www.grantgoddard.co.uk October 1997
  2. 2. MARKET OVERVIEW The Budapest radio market is in a state of flux. Until recently there has been very little genuine competition between stations. Since 1995, state-owned (but commercial) Danubius has been in head-to-head competition with commercial station Juventus to be the predominant music format in the city. Both stations are quite similar. But recent months have seen an influx of newly licensed stations with more varied formats. These newcomers are likely to chip away the audiences of both Danubius and Juventus in varying degrees over time. And the impending arrival of a new, national commercial station will complicate the market even more. TABLE 1: BUDAPEST RADIO STATIONS frequency station FM 89.5 92.9 94.8 96.4 100.3 102.1 103.3 105.3 Juventus Star Petofi Melody FM/Budapest Radio Radio 1 Bridge Danubius Bartok The Budapest, Hungary Radio Market ©1997 Grant Goddard page 2
  3. 3. RATINGS The published ratings of the two research companies - Gfk and Gallup - refer to the national market as a whole and offer scant information about Budapest alone. The lack of information poses a serious problem, because it is in Budapest that the radio market is undergoing dramatic change, with new stations broadcasting only in the capital. A visit to Gfk did provide me with the top-line results of a telephone survey of some 500 respondents living in Budapest. The drawback is that the survey was commissioned from Gfk by one of the new stations, Star, and (surprise surprise) gives Star an impressive weekly reach figure of 26.5%. Compare this figure with the equivalent statistic for Star provided by Gallup - 6.8% - and you see that the difference is too great to be explained by “statistical error”. I also learned that Gfk conducted all the pre-launch research for Star, which begs two questions: if the research was any good, why is Star not successfully attracting listeners?; and would not you do the utmost to prove that the product is successful, if you had earlier been commissioned to do the pre-launch research? I have examined carefully the Gfk data for Budapest and find it totally unconvincing. My visit to Gallup was more fruitful. Although Gallup, like Gfk, only publish data for the whole of Hungary, they were kind enough to provide me with a breakout of data for Budapest alone. Gallup’s research is diary-based, which is far preferable to Gfk’s telephone methodology. The constraints upon my time in Budapest denied me the opportunity to obtain very detailed data from Gallup. The data in my hands is limited to reach/share and time spent listening. This is sufficient for a basic overview of the Budapest market - assuming that Gallup’s methodology is more believable than Gfk’s - but denies the opportunity to perform a detailed analysis of individual stations’ performances. In the tables below, I have used the Gallup data exclusively. The Gfk data is not worthy of reproduction here and, anyway, contradicts the Gallup data in several places. The Budapest, Hungary Radio Market ©1997 Grant Goddard page 3
  4. 4. TABLE 2: CUME & T.S.L. weekly reach Budapest % average time listened per week per station listener (mins) 33.8 33.3 29.7 27.7 20.7 6.8 3.2 2.4 327 186 228 132 202 37 10 9 966 559 767 477 975 545 302 366 2.2 Juventus Kossuth [state] Danubius [state/comm] Petofi [state] Calypso Star Bartok [state] Bridge average time listened per week per head of population (mins) 8 373 other stations source: Magyar Gallup, May 1997 sample = 411 diaries in Budapest TABLE 3: CUME BY AGE ages ------------------weekly reach Budapest %-----------------14-17 18-29 30-49 50-65 >65 Juventus 69.4 Danubius [state/comm] 61.1 Petofi [state] 5.6 Kossuth [state] 0.0 Calypso 16.7 Star 5.6 Bartok [state] 0.0 Bridge 0.0 other stations 2.8 50.0 41.7 14.3 10.7 20.2 13.1 0.0 7.1 36.8 35.2 28.0 27.2 20.0 8.8 3.2 2.4 16.5 16.5 39.1 51.3 25.2 2.6 6.1 0.9 13.7 3.9 39.2 68.6 15.7 2.0 3.9 0.0 6.0 0.8 1.7 0.0 source: Magyar Gallup, May 1997 sample = 411 diaries in Budapest The Budapest, Hungary Radio Market ©1997 Grant Goddard page 4
  5. 5. TABLE 4: T.S.L. BY AGE ages ---------average minutes listened per week----------14-17 18-29 30-49 50-65 >65 Juventus Danubius [state/comm] Petofi [state] Kossuth [state] Calypso Star Bartok [state] Bridge 516 293 5 0 45 16 0 0 554 322 29 46 136 82 0 17 393 350 159 119 224 38 10 12 135 89 178 308 275 17 21 6 90 38 225 439 201 22 5 0 8 17 0 14 0 other stations source: Magyar Gallup, May 1997 sample = 411 diaries in Budapest The Budapest, Hungary Radio Market ©1997 Grant Goddard page 5
  6. 6. STATIONS’ PROGRAMMING Monitoring each station’s weekday, daytime output showed that their music policies have the following characteristics: TABLE 5: RADIO STATIONS' MUSIC CONTENT Danubius Juventus Star Radio 1 8 24 16 13 2 % pop/dance % pop/rock 44 16 20 12 5 59 22 16 39 % 1997 songs 49 31 - 64 29 % 1990s songs % 1980s songs % 1970s songs % 1960s songs % 1950s songs 74 23 3 - 58 27 7 8 - 2 37 29 29 3 95 4 1 - 58 33 8 1 - % UK Top 10 hits 28 56 65 8 32 % Hungarian songs Bridge In addition to these five stations, I listened to Melody FM/Budapest Radio for an entire day, but their format proved difficult to analyse. I could not recognise many of the songs played; there were substantial parts of the programming dedicated to talk and interviews; there was a Polygram programme wherein all the songs played were Polygram’s sales priorities; there was a programme of Hungarian music; and there were “live” recordings of hit songs. It is difficult to summarise the music that could be identified - there were some current hits, some hits from the 1980s ad 1990s, very little dance music, and a lot of unfamiliar songs. Gallup had no ratings data available which makes it impossible to judge whether these two new stations (sharing one frequency) are successful or not. Certainly, if the stations are attracting an audience, it is unlikely to be because of their music policies. Danubius is a typical current-based, East European station. Nearly half the songs played are dance-orientated, half the songs are currents, and threequarters of everything played is from the 1990s. Predictably, Danubius enjoys its greatest success in the youth market. Its morning show is an adaptation of a “zoo” format, playing only 8 songs per hour, but the rest of the day is more music-intensive, with 11 or 12 songs per hour between the frequent commercials. Juventus is a variant on the Danubius format. Juventus plays much less dance music (20% to Danubius’ 44%). Juventus plays fewer current hits (31% to Danubius’ 49%). Juventus plays a lower proportion of songs from the 1990s (58% to Danubius’ 74%). Instead, Juventus plays more mainstream pop music, The Budapest, Hungary Radio Market ©1997 Grant Goddard page 6
  7. 7. more music from the 1960s and 1970s, and more Hungarian music than does Danubius. And, very importantly, Juventus plays more Top 10 hits - 56% of songs, compared to Danubius’ 28% - and is more music-intensive than Danubius throughout the day. But Juventus does not offer a substantially different music format to Danubius. It is really a watered-down version of Danubius, with some minor improvements and modifications. The lower proportion of dance songs played on Juventus, combined with the more frequently played big hit songs, give it the edge over Danubius with the older segments of the radio audience [see Table 3], and give it longer listening times in all demographics [see Table 4]. Star offers a very different format from both Danubius and Juventus. It plays no dance music whatsoever, and plays very little rock-orientated music (5% of songs, compared to Danubius’ 16% and Juventus’ 12%). It plays no current hits. It plays almost no songs from the 1990s (2%). Instead, Star plays songs from the 1980s, 1970s and 1960s in roughly equal proportions, and a very small number of 1950s songs (3%). Star has an even higher proportion of Top 10 songs (65%) than Juventus (56%). There is a substantial amount of talk in the morning show, but the remainder of the day is very music-intensive. From its format, Star would be expected to appeal to an older demographic than both Danubius and Juventus. But the ratings data shows Star having negligible appeal for the over-30 audience [see Table 3]. Instead, Star’s main audience derives from the 18-29 age group, the very same demographic that listens to Danubius and Juventus. [A note of caution: the next highest age group used by Gallup - 30-49 years - is too broad to be of much use. It might be that Star has a substantial audience amongst 30-39 year olds, but no audience amongst 40-49 year olds. On the other hand, both Danubius and Juventus perform substantially better than Star in this 30-49 age group, despite their high proportions of dance music and current hits, so that Star would be expected to perform as well as them, or even better.] This paradox deserves further attention. Radio 1 is a relatively new station that was starting its broadcast day at 12 noon while I was in Budapest. I understand that it was due to extend its transmissions to 24 hours per day in October. Until now, Danubius has been the most youth-orientated station in the market. But Radio 1 is succeeding in being even more “youthful” than Danubius. Radio 1 has more dance music than Danubius (59% to Danubius’ 44%), more rock music than Danubius (22% to 16%), more current hits than Danubius (64% to 49%), and more 1990s music than Danubius (95% to 74%). Radio 1’s whole style of programming is far more exciting than Danubius, which has changed little over the last few years. There are as yet no ratings in the Gallup data for Radio 1, but in the long run the station is likely to dent both Danubius and Juventus’ ratings in the youth market. Bridge has been a ratings failure for many years, never quite certain of its format and never offering more than a jukebox during the daytime. The morning and afternoon drivetime financial information programmes certainly kill The Budapest, Hungary Radio Market ©1997 Grant Goddard page 7
  8. 8. any notion that Bridge is a pure music station. Bridge continues to schedule more rock-orientated music (39% of songs) than the other stations. It also plays a fair proportion of new songs (29%), but few Hungarian songs (2%). The factor that really clinches Bridge’s failure is the relatively low percentage of Top 10 hits it plays (32%) compared to its competitors. [In other East European markets, 32% would be considered quite high, but the hit-orientated music policies of both Juventus and Star have upped the ante in Budapest.] The Budapest, Hungary Radio Market ©1997 Grant Goddard page 8
  9. 9. STAR’S FAILINGS The Budapest market is too crowded with stations targeting the youth market: Danubius, Juventus, Radio 1 and Bridge. Only Star is attempting to aim at a different, older demographic, but the Gallup data seems to indicate that it has so far failed to secure a substantial listenership. Why is this so? There could be several reasons:         the morning show has too much talk content; there are almost no 1990s songs in the format (2%); there are too many 1970s songs in the format (29%); there are too many 1960s songs in the format (29%); there are too many 1950s songs in the format (3%); the music library contains too many UK hits that are unknown in Hungary; the music library contains too many US hits that are unknown in Hungary; there are too few AC-type hits in the format. Star’s music library sounds as if it has been copied wholesale from a UK oldies station, without much prior research in the Hungarian market to determine whether such an imported format is entirely appropriate. [In fact, all the oldies played on Star take only one stereo channel from the original recording, so listeners effectively hear only “half” of each song. This is a sure sign that an error was made in copying these songs to tape from an existing library.] Although Star’s format would make it sound like a viable oldies station in the UK (or even US) markets, in Hungary probably as many as half of the songs played have no recognition factor with the audience. Particularly problematic are the high proportions of 1970s and 1960s songs played on Star. Hungarians’ knowledge of these decades is minimal, outside of the very biggest hits by the very biggest artists (Beatles, Abba, Boney M, etc). Not everything on Star is wrong. There are some programming policies that the station is correctly implementing to attract its target demographic:      “more music, less talk” [except for the morning show]; no dance music; a high proportion of 1980s music; a high proportion of Top 10 hits; no current hits. The Budapest, Hungary Radio Market ©1997 Grant Goddard page 9
  10. 10. SUGGESTED FORMAT & ACTION PLAN The youth radio market is already too crowded. Star has the correct idea to aim a format at an older audience, but its execution of the idea has failed. There is a definite gap in the market, but the lack of available and accurate ratings data make it difficult to determine exactly how large that gap is. Qualitative research needs to be conducted in Budapest amongst the target 25 to 45 age group (with the core group aged 30 to 40) to determine: DANUBIUS LISTENERS  why do respondents in this demographic listen to Danubius?  what are the positive aspects of programming for this demographic?  what are the negative aspects of programming for this demographic?  what changes would respondents make to the station?  discussion issues are: the high % of dance music, the high % of current hits, the high % of 1990s songs, the relatively low % of Top 10 hits, the relatively low % of Hungarian songs. JUVENTUS LISTENERS  why do respondents in this demographic listen to Juventus?  what are the positive aspects of programming for this demographic?  what are the negative aspects of programming for this demographic?  what changes would respondents make to the station?  discussion issues are: the low % of dance music, the high % of current hits, the high % of Hungarian songs, the relatively high % of Top 10 hits. STAR LISTENERS  why do respondents in this demographic listen to Star?  how did they discover the station?  what are the positive aspects of programming for this demographic?  what are the negative aspects of programming for this demographic?  what changes would respondents make to the station?  discussion issues are: the lack of dance music, the lack of current hits, the low % of 1990s songs, the high % of 1980s, 1970s and 1960s songs, the relatively high % of Top 10 hits. ALL LISTENERS  awareness of different stations;  trial of different stations;  perceived programming differences between different stations;  perceived target audiences of different stations;  changes in listening habits since the launch of new stations;  awareness of station logos & marketing campaigns. The Budapest, Hungary Radio Market ©1997 Grant Goddard page 10
  11. 11. It would be productive to play examples of the music format of each station to respondents and to ask them to evaluate each in turn. Additionally, a “prototype” music format should be tested in the same way. The prototype would correct the possible problems with the Star format: reduce the amount of 1950s, 1960s and 1970s songs; increase the number of 1990s songs; increase the number of Top 10 hits; increase the number of AC-type songs; increase the number of recognised hits in East/Central Europe. Alongside the qualitative research, it would be useful to try and extract more detailed ratings data from Gallup to examine. It is difficult to know exactly what additional information can be gleaned from Gallup, without viewing the diary questionnaire Gallup gives to respondents, and without examining how this information is collated onto Gallup’s computer database. It would be particularly useful to break the age groups in the Gallup data reproduced here into smaller segments. The object of this research is to determine with certainty the weak programming aspects of Danubius, Juventus and Star in the minds of the 2545 age group, and to assess the potential of a prototype format that addresses these weaknesses. Such research could be conducted in Budapest in conjunction with a local research company (preferably not Gfk or Gallup). Grant Goddard is a media analyst / radio specialist / radio consultant with thirty years of experience in the broadcasting industry, having held senior management and consultancy roles within the commercial media sector in the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia. Details at http://www.grantgoddard.co.uk The Budapest, Hungary Radio Market ©1997 Grant Goddard page 11

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