Analysis: Media Track - In the digital fray, branded radio networks offer a way of reaching target groups

As with the cable and regional newspaper industries, the UK’s radio sector has undergone a period of consolidation in recent years, creating a handful of major players.

As with the cable and regional newspaper industries, the UK’s radio

sector has undergone a period of consolidation in recent years, creating

a handful of major players.



With networks often covering many areas of the country, these companies

started branding stations under one name. For example, Emap On Air has

developed the Magic and Big City networks.



Similarly, over the last few years, Chrysalis has been developing the

Galaxy brand. There are now Galaxy stations in Birmingham, Manchester,

Bristol and Leeds. Along the same lines, Capital Radio has its Gold

network and GWR operates a number of Classic Gold stations around the

country.



One of the benefits of networks is that they offer national advertisers

a package through which they can target audience groups. The stations

can also be promoted generically, almost at a national level. Capital,

for example, is known outside London for its Gold stations.



However, some agency buyers have questioned whether the networks really

do connect with a homogeneous audience or whether they are simply used

as a convenient and easy way to sell package deals to advertisers.



Jonathan Gillespie, head of radio at BMP OMD, says: ’Branded networks

are an attractive buying proposition as they can offer a uniform

programming environment, but they have to be real. Just because a set of

stations has one thing in common doesn’t mean that their network name

lends any homogeneity. Sometimes they can be sales tools rather than

reflections of a lifestyle.’



In the graph, the main networks’ audiences are indexed against the

average ’all-adults weekly reach’, represented as 100. For example, the

Galaxy network’s reach percentage for 15- to 24-year-olds is almost

three times higher than the network’s all-adults average. Conversely,

the Capital Gold network has a key audience in the 45- to 54-year-old

bracket.





MediaTel’s database is available at www.mediatel.co.uk. For more

information contact 0207-439 7575 or e-mail info@mediatel.co.uk.



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