Radio, battered by the pandemic, still lost listeners overall at the start of the year, a depressed context in which the leader France Inter is widening the gap with RTL and franceinfo is keeping the wind in its sails.
According to Médiamétrie, the number of daily radio listeners, all stations combined, fell to 40.1 million over the January-March period, or 300,000 fewer listeners than at the end of 2020 and 2.1 million fewer than ‘one year earlier.
A crisis situation in which the public service stands out once again: France Inter remains the leading radio station with 12.3% of cumulative audience, despite a drop of half a point, and widens the gap with RTL (- 1.6 points to 10.5%). And RTL, tied a year ago on the other benchmark, audience share, is back behind its rival (at 12.4% against 13.3%).
“With more than 15 million listeners since September 2020, the stations of Radio France have conquered an unprecedented and solid place and which shows their usefulness as a public service in the daily life of the French, in the face of this crisis and the uncertainties that endure” , commented for AFP Sibyle Veil, CEO of Radio France.
“Solid leadership position” for France Inter
In the lead for the 9th time in a row and with its second best “wave” of hearings in January-March, “France Inter has a solid leadership position and the gap is widening”, adds its director Laurence Bloch, who emphasizes ” the inventiveness ”of its teams to support listeners, between concerts, special days and other podcasts for children and families.
“There was a real containment effect. The pandemic does not like travel, but RTL achieves more than a third of its audience in mobility and when cars are no longer running it is mechanically impacted. But at 12.4%, its audience share is clearly above its long-term level and it is very much the leading private radio station in France ”, relativizes Régis Ravanas, head of radio stations for the M6 group (RTL, RTL2, Fun).
Franceinfo retains its 3rd place, at 8.9% (+1.5 point) ahead of NRJ (-0.6 point to 8.5%). “We are on a trend that is confirmed, since the start of the school year we have found our audience and what we have done around the health crisis has paid off,” says Jean-Philippe Baille, director of franceinfo.
RMC in difficulty
“The fundamentals are there, there are promising signs of recovery and we are ready for the way out of the crisis”, assures Maryam Salehi, the boss of NRJ Group. “The NRJ group brings together 4.7 million daily listeners and NRJ remains the leading radio station in France for those under 65, and has recruited 190,000 new listeners since the previous wave,” she argues.
RMC (-0.6 to 5.8%), in difficulty since the departure of Jean-Jacques Bourdin from his morning, is caught up by Skyrock (6.2%) or France Bleu (6%). Europe 1 (Lagardère group) loses 0.4 point over one year at 5%, but stabilizes compared to the previous “wave” of hearings and also displays an unchanged PDA over one year (at 4.5%).
“The strategy of Europe 1, consisting of rejuvenating the audience and targeting CSP +, is starting to pay off: the cumulative audience and audience share have stabilized, while the entire media is impacted by the decline in mobility, ”says his boss Constance Benqué, who notes in particular a“ 31% increase in audience share among CSP + over the whole day ”.
Indie radios, a group of 130 local, regional and thematic stations, lost 0.3 points to 13.6% but rose again compared to the end of 2020.
Several musicals find colors, such as Fun, which relies on its “electro-Latin” turn. “It’s the start of Fun’s comeback, its new sound is taking hold,” notes Régis Ravanas.
France Culture continues its momentum and signs its best winter audience, at 2.9%. “People come more and more to listen to the radio for specific reasons, and the premium goes to those who have a strong and attractive editorial offer”, observes its director Sandrine Treiner.
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