The Moroccan radio market has undergone major changes in a decade, even if the evolution of audiences over ten years shows the radio in decline. What new sources of growth for this medium? And how could new technologies provide the market with new tools? In an unpublished analysis, the Cabinet Angle Large reviews the audience indicators published by the Interprofessional Center for Radio Audience Measurement (Radiométrie Maroc) since 2012. The details.
In ten years, the overall audience volume for radio in Morocco has declined. And consumption habits have also changed a lot. Historically centered on “mornings”, the radio audience is now spread over the whole of the day and listeners have broadcast their choice of stations. In an unpublished study by the firm “Angle Large”, the consulting specialist deciphers the statistics that the CIRAD (Interprofessional Center for Radio Audience Measurement) has been producing continuously for ten years. These reference figures are used by all players in the ecosystem: media, management, advertisers, agencies, etc. The radios and their advertisers finance, at 8 million DH per year, this tool based on a sample (52,000 interviews per year) representative of the Moroccan population aged 11 and over. Thus, during the 1st quarter of the year, and on weekdays, 52% of Moroccans aged 11 and over listen to the radio on average every day, ie approximately 14,843 million listeners. “At the launch of Radiométrie Maroc (in the 1st quarter of 2012), media penetration was 61%.
By comparison, in France, the media brings together 72% of the population aged 13 and over on a daily basis (Médiamétrie 1st quarter 2022)”, notes the firm. On a weekday, the 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. (6.620 million listeners), 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. (6.784 million listeners) and 2 p.m. similar. “Evenings have lost listening, no doubt to the benefit of screens in general (not just television). The average number of radio stations listened to by a listener on a weekday went from 1.4 to 2.4. On the other hand, the daily listening time per listener (2h54) has not changed in ten years”, explains the firm. As far as international standards are concerned, it can be said that Moroccan radio stations have room for improvement: “the radio audience today is spread over the whole of the day and listeners have divided their choice of stations”.
The best performing radios today
In parts of audience (PDA), winning stations over the long term are the most clearly defined. We see that general practitioners, such as Médi1 or Al Idaa Al Watania, are increasingly subject to erosion. Practically non-existent until 2006, independent operators account for two-thirds of the audience (67%). They have gained ten points since 2012. On the other hand, Médi1 (6.6% of PDA) has lost 60% of its power in ten years. Med Radio (12.5% PDA) and Hit Radio (10.2% PDA) are the new leaders in all categories, behind the Mohammed VI radio of the Holy Quran. The audience shares of state stations are held half by Koranic radio (15% PDA), in the lead from the beginning of Radiométrie. While the parts of generalist Al Idaa Al Watania almost halved, those of radio Al Idaa Al Amazighia increased threefold. Surprisingly, Radio 2M (5.2% PDA) does not derive much benefit from its proximity to its powerful big sister TV. In ten years, Chaîne Inter (0.5% PDA), although credited with an excellent technical network, has not found new resources to revive itself. It should be noted that the Atlantic Radio and Luxe Radio stations are not subscribers to the study. Their audiences, measured but not published by name, feed the category “Other radio stations” (including foreign transmitters) whose overall audience share is 2.84%.
A fund to help radio creation?
For Angle Large, it is the richness of the offer and its suitability to the public that make or break the audiences. In 2006 and 2009, the arrival of independent radio stations enriched the offer and aroused curious enthusiasm on the part of the public. Undoubtedly, since the cost pressure, some programs tend to deviate from their promise, to simplify and to copy each other. The micro-blabla of the “experts” and the musical taps (which cost the least to produce) have unfortunately, without the establishment of a public policy of economic encouragement to the best-selling content (for example by putting establishment of a radio creation assistance fund). New projects likely to expand the offer have indeed been tabled at the HACA, but some have been waiting for several years. Private operators have long asked the Regulator to carry out an independent study to objectify the economic capacity of the market and measure the degree of public satisfaction in terms of the diversity of the offer. To make informed decisions.
The effects on radios of the advertising deficit following the Covid crisis
The audiences held up, but the commercial revenues of the radios were very damaged (-50% and more). The state has helped private broadcasters, like other sectors, to get through the crisis, but the issue of revenue is also structural. It is particularly linked to the massive capture of advertising revenue by global technology platforms (GAFAM). All traditional media are confronted with it. “Radio entrepreneurs need to generate additional income by creating new services backed by their initial offer. In mature markets, the same group can operate one, two or three complementary products. This is what the Moroccan public sector largely does. The Moroccan Regulator should open up more widely to this perspective of horizontal consolidation to stabilize the radio market and offer it new growth levers,” the firm maintains.
Questions to Jean-Claude Fyon, Belgian media expert, active in Morocco
“The radios would need a new creative breath”
“Le Matin”: The evolution of audiences over ten years shows radio in decline. In 2012, 61% of Moroccans aged 11 and over listened to the media every day, compared to 52% in 2022. How to analyze this decline?
Jean-Claude Fyon: When the airwaves resumed (2006-2009), the discovery effect came into play. It was radio like never before, in themes, music and tone. In ten years, the effect has faded. Programs have tended to deviate from their promise, become simpler and duplicate themselves. The offer has lost its originality. Listening to music on streaming platforms has also taken up space. The radios would need a new creative breath. Listeners love novelty, just as they get tired of restaurant tables that don’t renew their menu. With regard to international standards, Moroccan radio stations retain the margins of progress; there are still gaps to be filled in the offer. Beyond the decline in overall audience volume, it should be added that consumption habits have changed a great deal. Historically centered on the mornings, the audience is now spread over the whole day, the large sections of which present similar audiences in terms of volume. Grid management has become more complex. It is no longer enough to drag out the morning listening to make your day.
The figures show listeners fluttering between radio stations. We have gone from 1.4 to 2.4 stations listened to each day on average, but the average listening time per listener (2h54) remains stable. How to explain it?
More stations do not mean that the listener mechanically increases his available radio time. The effect on listening time has more to do with the power of seduction of the offer than with its volume. The listener can simply be more eclectic, travel through the offer according to the broadcasts. It used to be that the select button was locked on the home receiver. The will multiply the offer by five and give the public the freedom to choose.
Private stations represent two-thirds of the audience share. In ten years, it is these radios that have recorded the most significant progress. Is this due to a better pricing capacity taking into account the wishes of the listeners?
There are not, on the one hand, private stations that always win and, on the other, public stations that systematically lose. Amazigh public radio, for example, has tripled its audience share in ten years. The Koranic public station (15% of PDA) has been at the top of the audience since the very first wave of Radiométrie Maroc. That said, the audience share champions mostly belong to the private category. Independents account for 67% of audience shares and have gained ten points since 2012. Should we see this as a better ability to take listeners into account? I would say a greater ability to implement new agility. The biggest divide between “losers” and “winners” seems to me to be looking for in program formats.
What would bring together Med Radio, Hit Radio and Aswat, which sign the most significant gains in market share over the long term?
These three stations present summary offers. In audience ratings (PDA), the winning stations over the long term are the most clearly established. These are channels that have personality, targeting, and stick to it. They present a readable promise in which the public easily finds their way. Med Radio (12.5% PDA) and Hit Radio (10.2% PDA) are good examples of this.
Conversely, Al Idaa Al Watania and Medi1 recorded the largest audience share losses in ten years…
Médi1 has lost 60% of its power in ten years and the shares of Al Idaa Al Watania have almost halved. They are somewhat old-fashioned generalists who hunt on all lands, at the risk of getting lost in a confused positioning. There are also sometimes difficulties that arise in renewing oneself in depth. Chaîne Inter offers an example of this, with a half percent audience share and the same ambition for ten years: to return to what it was. It’s the opposite of reinventing yourself.
We do a lot of quantitative analyzes on the radio landscape but few qualitative studies…
Quantitative studies form the basis of the measurement system. They quantify and classify audiences, generate station profiles. Measurement by CIRAD (Interprofessional Center for Radio Audience Measurement) produces references used by all players in the ecosystem. Every three months, subscribing operators receive from the Ipsos Institute, in charge of measurement, the data needed to help them manage their issues and commercial offers. Maintaining for ten years a shared audience measurement of such regularity and solidity is already not trivial in itself. The qualitative studies of which you speak complete the quantitative measurement and make it possible to finely understand the expectations of the public, to perceive weak signals among the listeners… and the non-listeners (the breeding ground for growth). They are not a common practice among radio operators in Morocco, perhaps less so than ever. Under the pandemic, some channels had to cut the budgets for qualitative studies: focus group, concept validation, musical tests. An activity that is measured less can make improvements more complex.