Is it time to ‘blow up’ 2DayFM?
Dave Cameron gives an insight into how he’s approaching ongoing low ratings for Sydney’s 2DayFM and rejects the suggestion it’s reached the point the station needs a complete overhaul and reset. If that’s the case, what on Earth is next?
Southern Cross Austereo’s (SCA) chief content officer Dave Cameron knows he has a lot of agenda items when it comes to the network’s ratings – whether it’s SAFM’s inability to properly crack the Adelaide market, Marty Sheargold’s new Breakfast show on Triple M Melbourne or its newly-rebranded Perth stations.
But he’s honest and realistic when it comes to which challenge gets priority and becomes agenda item #1.
“Growth in Sydney,” he says. “Growth in Sydney is the absolute priority for us.”
Cameron makes the admission after its Sydney Hit Network station 2DayFM slipped 0.4 points in the most recent survey, taking it to a 3.5% share overall. FM market leader KIIS, part of the Australian Radio Network (ARN), is on 9.6%.
2Day was also down 0.6 points in the key 25 to 39 demographic to a 5.5% share, and down 1.3 points to 4.5% for the 40 to 54s.
Its Breakfast show, The Morning Crew with Hughesy, Ed & Erin, appeared to be in even more trouble, with a 3.3% share, down 0.5 points from last survey’s 3.8%.
Cameron says 2Day’s headline talent has what it takes to break through
With numbers this low, some have gone so far as to suggest it’s time to give up on 2DayFM. Blow the whole thing up (metaphorically) and start again. Perhaps a rebrand? A total rethink? A station to take on NOVA Entertainment’s music-based smoothfm? Anything, really, that gets above a 3.5.
Cameron, however, says the time for an explosive reset has been and gone. The best option – indeed the only option in his eyes – is to stick to his guns.
“Whenever you think about what’s next, you’ve got to think about alternatives – and the alternative is a path that is well-trodden by us over many years, which is chopping and changing and not being able to build an audience around a brand,” he says. “So that’s the alternative [to what we’re doing], and I don’t like that, because we’ve seen how that plays out over many years.”
This chopping and changing, including with talent lineups, branding, music strategy and marketing messages, has taken its toll on what was once a very loyal 2Day audience, and the brand can’t afford to alienate or confuse its audience, or potential audience, anymore.
Despite the damage of years gone by, Cameron believes there is still some affection, currency and strength behind the 2Day brand.
“Yes, I do. I do,” he says.
“But I think we have potentially lost a little bit of the trust over previous years by changing product, and we live with that.”
So, he must stick with the current approach, he says.
Is this a man defeated and out of options? No, he says, it’s a man committed to a good show which just needs time.
Dave Cameron says 2DayFM has no other option but to stick to its guns
“The only option and our best option and our strongest option is to commit, and commit for the long-term, and crack the market over the next few years, and increase our marketing, continue to finesse the show,” he explains.
“We have headline talent there. I’m really committed to the show. I’m confident it will grow over the next couple of years… The alternative to committing and backing in what I think is a really good show that’s still continuing to grow is to change again – and that’s not an option. It’s not an option for me.”
He adds: “I don’t look at 2Day as an opportunity to have any other thought apart from committing with 100% of our confidence and backing to be able to keep trying to crack the market.”
2Day’s problems are compounded not only by its own inconsistent history, but also by its competitors which have stuck to their guns and had long-term talent, long-term shows and long-term loyalty.
“The brand will grow once we start to deliver some stronger loyal listening. And there’s so much loyalty around those heritage show brands in Sydney, probably more than any other market to be honest, because nothing’s changed there in 10 years – apart from us,” he says.
“So the only way forward is to build a show for the long term, because that’s what all our competitors have done, and that’s our only path.”
Despite the sense of being trapped with no other options, and the doom and gloom of yesterday’s numbers, Cameron says overall share in People 10+ is just an ego number, and the Hit Network itself is actually performing well in terms of having something to sell to brands and advertisers.
“Like any survey I guess there’s some head scratchers, and there’s also some good wins in pockets as well,” he says.
“Overall, when we have a look at the national result for us today, the Hit Network is #1 in 25 to 54 females nationally, and Triple M is #1 for men 25 to 54 nationally.
“So when we have a look at aggregate numbers, which is what we sell on, verus the ego numbers – which is those share 10+ results – and demographics are really strong right across the country, and that’s where we trade. That’s where we do business. So when we are strong in our target, then that’s a good result for us.”