In this issue, we have channeled our industry’s energy and enthusiasm for change
How large is your radio market both in terms of number of radio stations (public and private) and overall advertising revenue (in USD)?
We have three public broadcasters: one for mainland France, one for French overseas territories and one for international broadcasting. We have 1,021 FM private operators.
Net advertising revenue in 2020 was €623 million (approximately US$722 million). Over the last five years (2016–2020), the radio advertising market in France didn’t grow. For year 2020, radio advertising revenue was exceptionally low due to the COVID-19 crisis. So, 2021 radio advertising revenues were expected to be higher than those of 2020, but it is not yet clear if they will be higher than those of 2019.
Is your radio market growing in terms of new players in radio or audio starting up?
Yes, there are new players in radio starting up in 2021. On Oct. 12, three new national radio stations started broadcasting on DAB+ along the Paris-Lyon-Marseille corridor. The launch of Radioplayer in 2021 was a major event — the application gives access to radio broadcasts and podcasts that are funded by different players in radio. Also, social audio, such as Clubhouse, has raised some interest in France.
Has your radio audience grown over the COVID pandemic, and how does it look now?
It is too early to have a definitive answer to this question, but early studies show that audience levels have remained low and will not return to the levels we enjoyed before the pandemic.
How has radio advertising revenue performed over the same period?
As far as the advertising market is concerned, the first half of 2021 showed a slight recovery for radio. The change in gross advertising investment (the amount of space purchased calculated before advertising discounts) in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in 2019 proved to be relatively dynamic, with a return to the 2019 level and a 22% increase in gross advertising investment, compared to the first half of 2020.
What is the most important new opportunity that radio stations in your market are pursuing in terms of investment in capital and human resources?
The most important opportunity is the deployment of DAB+ digital terrestrial radio. The FM band is saturated, so DAB+ allows the emergence of new services and the extension of coverage areas for existing radio stations.
How advanced is your market in terms of the transition of FM radio operators into audio streaming, audio on demand and digital radio such as DAB or DRM?
About 39% of France’s population is served by DAB+. The country has more than 400 licensed DAB+ radio stations (including the major stations). No FM switch-off is planned.
The major FM radio operators all offer streaming audio and audio on demand and are developing their podcast offerings.
According to Mediametrie, 8.3 million people listen to radio on a digital device (smartphone, computer, smart speakers). About 17% of all radio consumption is through digital devices.
What regulatory body oversees radio in your country?
The Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel is responsible for regulating audiovisual broadcast media. It’s located in the 15th arrondissement in Paris. It will become the ARCOM (with the merger of the CSA and Hadopi) on Jan. 1, 2022.
Are there other noteworthy radio industry organizations in your country? If so, who are they?
Bureau de la Radio: Represents the main private national radio players.
SIRTI: Composed of private — not community — radio players that do not belong to Bureau de la Radio and which rely on advertising revenues.
CNRA: Organization for community radio stations.
SNRL: Another organization for community radio stations.