GWR looks at fewer ad breaks strategy

The radio group GWR, which is currently merging with Capital Radio, is looking at restructuring its ad breaks in order to stem the flow of listeners migrating to the BBC.

GWR is looking at methods used by radio stations in Australia, which show stations can attract more listeners by reducing the number of ad breaks and maintain ad revenue by charging advertisers a premium for the break.

The company has been prompted into taking action by a slowdown in ad revenues over the autumn. In October, ad revenue was down 8.7 per cent on last year and November is expected to drop by 6.6 per cent on last year.

GWR has been hit by research revealing that audiences are listening to less commercial radio, while the BBC has strengthened its market share.

Ralph Bernard, the executive chairman of GWR, hit out at the BBC, saying: "Over the last four years BBC radio has, without recourse to an external regulator, successfully repositioned itself to appeal to commercial audiences."