Southern Cross Austereo’s (SCA) audio on demand platforms are breaking listener and download records during the COVID-19 pandemic as audience search for news and information along with social connection during the crisis.
Radio is the most consumed platform according to SCA with 66% of listeners working from home during March and listening on-demand through live radio streaming on mobile, smart speakers and podcasts. Which has seen SCA improve its results such as:
• Weekday listeners up 15% in the past 14 days to the end of March
• Total live radio streaming listening hours consumed is up 12.4% to 9.11 million, compared to February
• Smart speaker live radio streaming is up 9.8% to 1.7 million listening hours; listening sessions are 2+ hours and 19% of all SCA live radio streaming occurs on a smart speaker
• SCA podcasting downloads are up 55% over the same period with catch Up Radio podcasts up 66% and original podcasts up 43%
• More than 460,000 news on demand listens for March, a month on month increase of 130%, and more than double the increases during the Summer bushfires.
SCA’s research team also found these insights:
• One in four (24%) of SCA’s audience is consuming more radio than they did prior to the COVID-19 outbreak
• More than a quarter (26%) of SCA’s audience expects to consume more radio in the next month
• 66% of SCA’s audience who are working from home will be listening to radio
• 40% of SCA’s audience expects to consume the same amount or more podcasts in the next month
• 64% of SCA’s audience expects to consume the same amount or more music streaming in the next month.
SCA Chief Content Officer, Dave Cameron, said: “We have now comfortably eclipsed the previous all-time monthly streaming record to reach 9.11 million and it’s unprecedented that news makes up 10% of that figure, It’s also great to see podcasting has grown 55% month on month.”
“Our current listener behaviour is showing that our audiences are already, and will continue to, rely on audio to stay updated, informed, connected and comforted. SCA’s content teams have also pivoted to produce some fantastic content to keep listeners happy and to enjoy music or a laugh in these anxious times, as well as a series of random acts of kindness. I’m incredibly proud of our team who are working really diligently to keep listeners informed and entertained.”
SCA Head of News & Current Affairs, Natasha Jobson, said: “Since early March we have gone with a ‘COVID-19 facts first’ approach, carefully avoiding the hype and scaremongering and offering only the most legitimate information possible.
“A revised rostering system now allows our journalists to focus on writing, audio editing, interviewing and reading roles – with a large portion now doing that from their ‘home newsroom’ set ups. We are mobilised to deliver news from anywhere, for anywhere. We are sharing findings from SCA’s research team with listeners, such as their biggest concerns around COVID-19 and also some lighter information, such as the most popular board game to play whilst at home – Monopoly for the win!”
SCA Chief Sales Officer, Brian Gallagher, said: “Radio has a unique ability to reach and connect with communities and is an essential platform in emergency situations, such as our recent bushfires, floods and now COVID-19. As a broadcast and streaming business, we have the technology and systems in place to broadcast through these challenging times without interruption to our services.
“People turn to radio as a companion and for social connection with trusted and much-loved voices. We continue to listen to our audience via our research panels to gain insights into their listening and purchasing behaviour, attitudes towards COVID-19 and to the new world of working from home. As a result of this ongoing research, our advertising partners are able to pivot their messages to ensure they cut through in challenging times.”