The first wave of Nielsen’s recently launched UAE radio audience measurement (UAE RAM) augurs well for the radio sector in the UAE. Observing behavior from the fourth quarter of 2017, Nielsen has put together insights that will benefit marketers greatly in considering radio in their media mix.

In this first report on the subject, Arabian Marketer takes a look at the broader strokes of the medium itself in the market.

With a total reach of 93 percent, equaling to 7.89 million radio listeners each week, radio’s strength in the UAE is evident.

Listeners are spending over nine hours on radio every week. With average commuting times to work in the UAE at 96 minutes, much of the nation’s radio consumption happens while people are travelling but there is also a sizeable portion of listening at home.

There are three listening peaks clear in the day (7 AM-9 AM, 2 PM-4 PM and 6 PM-8 PM) but unlike global trends, in the UAE, radio’s peak hour lasts to nearly 8 PM and continues up to much later in the night.

Around 27 percent of all radio consumption in an average week occurs between 8 PM and 12 AM, with 61 percent of listeners tuning into radio from 8 PM onwards. Additionally, the study shows that radio engagement at home starts increasing from 6 PM and peaks at 11 PM, whereas listening activity while travelling lessens after 8 PM, although is still significant.

Dubai and Sharjah have the highest reach by emirate, according to Nielsen RAM data.

It is also noteworthy that while radio is popular across ages, it has maintained its appeal among the younger audiences as well. The 15-24 age group tune in to almost eight hours of radio per week.

It has also been found that the UAE has a remarkably high number of what is classed as ‘heavy’ radio listeners with 1.9 million people tuning in for 18 hours a week, whereas ‘medium’ listeners, or 3.4 million people, recorded an average consumption of 8 hours per week.

While mobile has significant reach among the devices for radio listening, nearly 80 percent of listening happens on AM/FM sets. In comparison, only 9 percent of listening happens via the internet – an insight that would also guide radio stations in devising their growth strategies.

“The extensive has reaffirmed radio’s resilience and vitality as a popular medium of information and entertainment for the UAE population. Specialized content like real-time traffic updates has made radio even more attractive to people who commute daily to work and back. In addition, radio’s acceptance as a leading source of music discovery and entertainment, driven by creative and engaging presenters, contributes further to its reach across audiences from different backgrounds, and cultural preferences for later lifestyles are driving listenership during evening and night-time,” said Sarah Messer, Director Media – Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan, Nielsen.

The UAE RAM project started with an Establishment Survey of 17,000 face to face interviews across all seven emirates in the UAE to enable Nielsen to determine population dynamics and ensure its collection of radio data would be balanced and representative. A ‘hybrid diary’ methodology was used for the research, introducing both a traditional paper diary and an innovative electronic diary to respondents, to measure robust information on radio listening. Every quarter, 2,100 people aged 10 and above, representing all nationalities and languages across the emirates are asked to record their radio listening activities for seven consecutive days. They record their listening in 15-minute time-slots for the entire week in their chosen diary format.

In the second part of this series, Arabian Marketer will look at the radio metrics as defined by Nielsen and the stations that are leading it. Watch this space for more…

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