Global buys GMG
At the time we went to print last month, the takeover of GMG by the UK’s largest radio group was unconfirmed. However within the days that followed, the owner of radio brands Real and Smooth was purchased by Global for a rumoured £70 million. The deal is currently with Ofcom for review prior to the Competition and Commissions board.
What happens now?
In real terms, the red tape associated with such a takeover means it will be business as usual for GMG until at least the New Year. It’s without question that the main reason Global purchased GMG was for Real, as its existing listener profile matches Heart (adults 25-44) and the network allows Heart at last to extend beyond the Midlands and into the North and Scotland, creating a ‘national’ brand. Global has one eye firmly on growing commercial revenue and absorbing Real and Smooth grows their commercial hours and in turn, advertiser spend.
So what next for Smooth? Targeting upmarket adults 40+, Smooth is already a strong brand with particular success in the North West. This means there are two options for Global, keep Smooth (where Competition and Commissions allows) to plug the listener gap between Heart and Classic (which predominantly reaches listeners over 60) or sell off Smooth. Bauer, having lost out to Global in the purchase of GMG, may look to these stations as consolation, with a possible rebrand to Magic on the cards.
The effect on advertisers and agencies is likely to be minimal – Global have proven themselves as a safe pair of hands in terms of developing and managing radio brands (Heart, Capital). However, there is concern about just how much radio spend they will control in key areas moving forward. In Manchester, for example, Global could own five out of the six FM licences, creating a one-stop-shop for advertisers and locking out the competition.
In an article published by MediaWeeklast month, a number of experts in the field – including our own Kelly Martindale – gave their thoughts on what the purchase could mean. You can check out what they had to say on the matter here.
Chris Moyles to leave Radio 1’s Breakfast Show
The self-styled ‘saviour of Radio 1’ announced his plans to retire from the Breakfast Show this week after eight-and-a-half years. The longest serving Breakfast Show host is leaving at the end of September and will be replaced with current evening presenter Nick Grimshaw.
So, did he jump or was he pushed?
With pressure from the BBC Trust to return to its core audience demographic of 15-29 year olds (the current average age for Radio 1 is 32), new Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper has no doubt had to evaluate where change needs to take place. Love or hate him, Chris Moyles, at 38, has grown and sustained the station’s listener base – with breakfast currently recording a listenership of 7.1 million according RAJAR Q1 2012 figures. However, have his listeners simply aged with him? From where does the station recruit new listeners? And with the successful launch of the Capital Network, are 15-29 year olds listening elsewhere? Although Nick Grimshaw does not have the radio pedigree of Moyles, his experience in yout’ media (fronting Channel 4’s teen strand T4 amongst others) undoubtedly provides him with some kudos with this age group.
So with ‘the saviour’ leaving Radio 1, will commercial radio reap the benefits? Looking back to the last major change at the BBC, Terry Wogan’s departure from Radio 2, there was a concern that listener numbers to the UK’s biggest Breakfast Show would fall off a cliff, but this was not the case. Chris Evans attracted an average 9.5 million weekly listeners during his first three months on the station, nearly 1.5 million more than for predecessor Wogan, and managed to refreshed the shows core demographic (current average age 51).
The question now is whether listeners are loyal to Chris Moyles or to Radio 1. His core fan base may look elsewhere, but the damage relating to this is likely to be limited.
And where now for Chris Moyles? According to reports, there is still a place for him at Radio 1, however Radio 2 and maybe even the Heart Network have are possibilities. Watch this space…