May 19,2020

97% of Radio Listeners continue to listen to radio during MCO

 A survey to understand listeners’ media habits during the MCO period

Radio continues to play an important role during MCO—a source for up-to-date news, music, entertainment and companionship for listeners

With the nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO) that has been keeping Malaysians confined to their homes, people are finding ways to keep themselves occupied and stay entertained during this period. GfK recently conducted the Radio MCO study in partnership with Commercial Radio Malaysia (CRM) to observe how radio listeners are consuming radio during this period. Amidst the wide range of media options available, including connected TVs and streaming platforms, the survey found that 97% of radio listeners continue to listen to radio.

In fact, 32% of listeners aged 15-49 claimed that they have increased their radio listening compared to pre-MCO times. Younger listeners (15-24 years old) are also turning to radio to keep themselves occupied and stay entertained, with 37% of the younger listeners have increased their radio listening during MCO.

Radio listeners tune in to their favourite station for various reasons which prove radio is more than just music. According to findings, news, current affairs and politics are the key content type drawing listeners to tune in to radio during the MCO (65%), with music playlist/songs dedication session trailing closely at 64%. Comedy category accounts for almost half of listeners (46%), indication that people are turning to radio as a source of entertainment to help lift their mood at times like this.

In Malaysia, radio consumption habits have no doubt evolved following the implementation of the MCO. Majority (91%) of radio listening is taking place at home—with 3 in 5 saying that they are now consuming even more radio (at home) compared to pre-MCO times. The study also showed that over 2 in 5 listeners say that they have increased listening to radio using home radio or TV set.

Listeners tune in at different times throughout the day with 10am to 1pm segment (49%) gains popularity during MCO, followed closely by 6am to 10am (47%), 4pm to 8pm (45%), 1pm to 4pm (34%), 8pm to 12midnight (24%) and 12midnight to 6am (6%).

Radio listening is a habitual action with both morning (6am-10am) and evening (4pm-8pm) segments continue to gain traction, attracting 69% of listeners in total. 10am to 1pm segment is popular among the younger audiences with 48% of listeners aged 15-24 tune in to radio during 10am to 1pm. Listeners aged 35-49 prefer the morning segment as they tune in to get their day started (54%).

Radio is an essential medium with a vital role to play during this time of uncertainty and disrupted routines. Based on findings, it is evident that radio listeners rely on it for timely and trustworthy information. Over nine in 10 (91%) trust that radio gives them up-to-date information about COVID-19, while 87% agreed that radio is a good source for information on the same topic. The study also revealed that over 3 in 5 believe radio provides credible, quality and relevant news content.

Radio presenters are more than just a voice on the radio. They are part of listeners‘ community and circle which people can relate to. 4 in 5 (80%) listeners say they trust the information they receive from their favourite radio presenters. 2

GfK findings show that radio plays the role that is akin to that of a lifestyle support system—providing companionship and connection to the community that listeners incline towards and trust. Almost 4 in 5 (78%) agreed that radio makes them feel less alone while 72% citing that radio makes them less anxious/worried when dealing with the current pandemic. It is a medium of shared experience that listeners are engaged with which is of value to them. Two-thirds (67%) respondents agreed that listening to radio make them feel more connected to the community.

The convenience and flexibility that radio offers allow radio to works at any time and anywhere as a trusty companion. GfK findings show that people tend to consume the media alongside other activities as they go about their day; such as when they are browsing the internet (87%), relaxing (85%), doing housework/cooking (77%), eating (75%) or working (58%).

In today’s digital era, radio has become an interactive and social media that has transcended from a pure audio experience to one that is multi-faceted and across multi-platforms, and which encourages continued engagements with listeners even when they are not tuned in. Almost half of all respondents said that they are now using mobile phone to listen to radio more often as a result of MCO. Over half (57%) said they read or interacted with the social media pages of a radio station, a program or a radio presenter when they are spending time on social media. The top three reasons on why listeners are engaged with radio social media pages during MCO are to see the video /photos from a radio show/ program/ announcer (72%*), to read about/comment on music/band /music-unrelated news e.g. current affairs (66%*) and to comment on the radio show or announcer / to share photos/personal experiences (55%*). *Base: Listeners who have read or interacted with (liked/followed/commented/shared) a radio station’s/show’s/presenter’s social media pages during MCO]

As we grapple with the COVID-19 outbreak, the ability of radio to connect listeners with news, music, entertainment and community are the main driving factors why radio will continue to stay relevant and draw audiences back for more. In fact, some two in five (42%) from the study already said they will consume more radio in the future.

About the GfK Radio MCO Study

The GfK Radio MCO study is an online study of 400 consumers aged 15 to 49 years old in Peninsular Malaysia who are radio listeners before the implementation of Movement Control Order (MCO). Fieldwork was conducted from 3 May 2020 to 10 May 2020.

Read more about the study on Marketing Magazine here too!

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