GfK: Radio listening remains popular as it continues to reach 94% of Malaysians weekly

Malaysia, May 7, 2021 – With the country being put through various stages of lockdown since last year, research shows that radio has again stood out to be an essential medium that adapts easily to crisis situations. The Radio Audience Measurement conducted by GfK in the first half of 2021, in partnership with Commercial Radio Malaysia (CRM), revealed that radio is being tuned in by 20.6 million listeners in an average week.

The appeal of radio remains strong as listeners tuning in for 13 hours and 43 minutes weekly. The most recent survey conducted over six weeks from February 28 to April 10 polled 6,000 unique individuals aged 10 years and above in Peninsular Malaysia. GfK utilized 4,500 paper diaries and 1,500 e-diaries to collect valuable insights on the strength and scope of radio listening across the country.

As radio is free and ubiquitous in all cars, listening on-the-move continues to account for the majority of the listening across all locations. Some 15.6 million listeners (76% share of listening) are tuning in to radio in their car on an average week. The increase in number of vehicles on the road during the survey period drove up the in-vehicle radio listeners by 3 percent compared to the last survey. Meanwhile, home-listening remains prevalent with 14 million listeners following their favourite radio station as they work, doing house chores, browse the internet or study.

The numbers also show an increase in the student segment, who makes up 4.4 million listeners. Radio listening at home and in cars among this group of audience recorded double digit growth—an increase of 11 percent and 10 percent respectively. The reopening of school when the survey was conducted helped boost listenership significantly. Radio is an enormously flexible medium, allowing listeners to tune in anytime, anywhere, from a range of devices and platforms, from traditional broadcast to radio apps on smartphones. While broadcast radio continued to be the most common way to access radio, with 91 percent of listeners tuning in via AM/FM and 23 percent via television set, mobile phones are the third most popular device used by 3.8 million listeners, followed by personal computer or tablet with 1.0 million listeners.

More are also accessing radio via the decoders that are connected to television sets. Result showed that there is an increase of 20.4 percent listeners via this channel.

“Our study once again, reaffirms that radio, at 94 percent reach, is one of the most effective medium that can reach almost the whole population of Peninsular Malaysia! said Alex Poon, President of Commercial Radio Malaysia. “It’s the medium that continues to engage its audience day and night across a range of devices and platforms, accompany its listeners at all times as they go on with their daily routines.”

The peak timeslots for radio continue to be during the morning and evening, with Breakfast (weekday 6 – 10 am) segments tuned in by over 15.3 million listeners, while evening drive segments (weekday 4 – 8pm) are trail closely behind at 15 million listeners.

Results of the study showed that each of the key weekday segments (ie 6 -10 am, 10am – 4pm, 4 – 8pm and 8 – 12midnight) registered growth in the audience size, with the 1 – 4 pm segment achieving the highest growth. There are 10.6 million radio listeners in the recent study, compared to 9.3 million reported in the previous wave; computing to a significant increase of 1.3 million people listening to radio during 1pm to 4pm slot.

Radio reaches 6.5 million listeners aged 25 to 39 years old weekly and on average, each listener spent more than 14 hours listening to radio in a week. According to the study, as the millennials are adapting to spending more time at home, nearly 3 in 5 listeners aged 25 to 39 years old tune in to radio at home, spending close to 9 hours listening to radio.

Among the various languages, Bahasa Malaysia stations are most popular with a weekly reach of 63 percent (13.9 million listeners). They are followed by the Chinese stations with 20 percent (4.3 million listeners), English stations at 19 percent (4.1 million listeners) and Tamil stations at 8 percent (1.7 million listeners).

“In today’s digital era where technology continues to evolve rapidly and consumers alongside, becomes increasing sophisticated, one of the success factors of radio is that it is able to adapt accordingly to meet the expectations and demands of its audience.” said June Pang, Malaysia Media Measurement Lead at GfK.

GfK Radio Audience Measurement Wave 1 2021 (28th February 2021 till 10th April 2021) versus GfK Radio Audience Measurement Wave 2 2020 (6th September 2020 till 17th October 2020).