Breakfast radio: the most important media of the day?
How can radio better serve its audiences in the morning - in an increasingly competitive and fragmented media landscape? What's radio getting wrong?
However, with today’s complex, fragmented and digital media landscape the competition for attention in the morning is fierce. The Telegraph reported that over half of smartphone users have replaced their alarm clock with their phone and over one million people on Facebook ‘Liked’ the group ‘the first thing I do when I wake up is check facebook’. Radio stations are no longer just competing with other radio stations or television in the morning but now face assaults from smart phones, tablets and computers. It is becoming increasingly evident that stations need to ensure that they are fine tuned and optimised to meet complex and often difficult to understand needs of their audiences in the morning.
Ipsos MediaCT set out to explore breakfast time, seeking to understand just these issues. We found that there are a number of common needs to be met to move people from their dreamy, sleep state through to being ready to start the day. Here are a few of them:
Some want a gentle awakening in a safe and familiar environment with time to relax and have their coffee. They want to connect with the world at their own pace - to gradually emerge from their cocoon and face the waking world.
Give me a kick
Others might like to go for a run, have a quick shower, listen to upbeat music and dance around while they get ready in the morning. They need invigoration and stimulation and to feel equipped to head out into the day.
Some people immediately wake up and reach for their mobile phone to check virtual connections. They like to ensure they are up-to-speed with all the gossip and friends’ late night activities before they are ready for the day ahead.
Some are looking for information to get ahead. They need to check their Blackberry, get the latest news stories, or read the Financial Times to ensure they are on top of their game and are armed to succeed in their day.
While your core need will be within one segment in our framework, you can touch on other needs throughout the morning. For example, your primary need may be connecting you with others. You wake up, reach for your phone and check social network sites and text messages. After a shower and listening to your favourite music radio station, you check your Blackberry for work emails while eating breakfast. You need a bit of a kick and to find out what’s going on in the world, but your core need is about feeling connected.
How does this relate to radio?
We know that different stations meet different needs in the morning; some are obviously trying to address the ‘give me a kick’ need with invigorating music and high octane chat; others are more about showbiz gossip and banter to ‘connect’ people and some impart information to ‘arm’ people for the day. But these stations aren’t always consistent because they don’t necessarily understand why what they do works.
Stations can easily win or lose listeners with the wrong approach. For example, take a radio station that meets the core needs of those who see themselves as a discerning listener, set apart from the mainstream. The main station is likely to reflect this with high brow advertisers and content. If this same station is considering becoming part of the social networking generation, then it should be looking beyond mass market Twitter and Facebook into more niche, different, and exclusive content, for example, a registered forum with specialised content.
With more radio stations starting to use apps for phones and tablets, getting content right for their target audience is key. Getting this content wrong could alienate current listeners, making them turn to another of the copious choices they have for the morning.
Dr Sarah Jenkins is Research Director and Head of Qualitative Research, Ipsos MediaCT. Sarah has a wealth of qualitative experience using a wide variety of research methodologies with a range of both audiences and methods. Sarah strives to deliver innovative techniques to meet with client needs and is currently directing projects looking at audience needs for a specific timeslot on television; and barriers to accessing information online.
E-mail Sarah Jenkins | Visit Sarah Jenkins's website