Audience Research

How does Radio New Zealand make its audience research information public?

Audience information on the networks is made available and is updated on this website. 

Radio New Zealand has a statutory requirement to report quantitative and qualitative results against designated Charter obligations.

Information relating to audience figures is made available to the public through this website, in the Radio New Zealand Annual Report (also on this website) and to Parliamentary Select Committees.

Public Value

Radio New Zealand conducts attitudinal research to measure how its services are perceived by listeners and non-listeners. Latest results show:

  • Radio New Zealand is highly regarded by the vast majority of New Zealanders, including non-listeners.
  • 87% agree that it is important for New Zealand to have a public service radio broadcaster (4% disagree).
  • 80% agree that Radio New Zealand provides a valuable service for New Zealanders (4% disagree).

Source: Radio New Zealand Value Indices Research carried out by Colmar Brunton Research among the general public. (Telephone survey conducted among randomly selected respondents in April-May 2015. The survey was fully nationwide with a sample of 1001 people aged 15 years and over.)

Performance against Charter

Radio New Zealand continues to meet the expectations of listeners, presenting programmes that highlight who we are and what interests us as a nation.

How much do you agree or disagree that the combined services of National and Concert meet Radio New Zealand's requirements to...? AGREE NEITHER agree nor disagree DISAGREE Don't Know Total
Promote Informed Debate 90% 6% 1% 3% 100%
Contribute to the development of an informed society 92% 5% 1% 2% 100%
Provide a range of programmes which reflects NZ's cultural diversity 85% 10% 3% 2% 100%
Promote and support a sense of national identity 81% 14% 3% 2% 100%
Broadcasts programmes of interest to a wide cross-section of New Zealanders 85% 10% 4% 1% 100%
Provide fair and balanced information 89% 6% 4% 1% 100%
Support NZ music, and other performing arts and artists 82% 13% 2% 3% 100%
Balance the need to broadcast programmes of wide appeal whilst also broadcasting programmes of interest to minority audiences 78% 14% 4% 4% 100%
Broadcast programmes that are not generally found on other radio stations 88% 8% 1% 3% 100%

Source: Radio New Zealand Listener Survey, 2013/2014 Financial Year (Nielsen)

Live radio listening and online listening

Live Listening – most recent results

Results from radio audience surveying carried out by Nielsen for Full Year Quarter 1 2015 are shown below. These results relate to listening in New Zealand by people aged 15 years and over, who are randomly selected nationwide.

  • Weekly live cumulative audience for Radio New Zealand (National and Concert combined) is 482,000 people.
  • Weekly live cumulative audience for Radio New Zealand National is 434,000 or 12% of the 15+ population. National's station share is 9.1%.
  • Weekly live cumulative audience for Radio New Zealand Concert is 118,000 or 3% of the 15+ population. Concert's station share is 1.3%.

Definitions: - Cumulative audience is the number of different listeners to a station over a week.  Station share is the percentage of all radio listening that is done to a station over a week; it takes into account the number of people listening and how long they listen.

[Source: The All New Zealand Radio Survey, Nielsen, Full Year Quarter 1 2015, among people aged 15+ nationwide, Monday to Sunday, 12 midnight to 12 midnight.]

The sample size for the survey period is 4,297 people.

See FAQ (below) on how the radio surveying is conducted for Radio New Zealand, and the ways in which it differs from the commercial radio surveys.

Online Listening

While live streaming through the website is captured in the normal 40 week surveys, time-shifted listening such as audio-on-demand or podcasting is not.

Time-shifted listening therefore represents additional listening, above and beyond the live audience figures shown above. Time-shifted listening reaches new audiences for Radio New Zealand, such as New Zealanders living overseas.

Since the launch of the current version of the Radio New Zealand website there has been huge growth in website listening.


Weekly cumulative audience figures for particular programmes on Radio New Zealand National are shown below, and relate to 'live' broadcast listening of people aged 15 years and over. (The figures relate to the Full Year Quarter 1 2015 period).

  • Morning Report  311,000 listeners
  • Nine to Noon with Kathryn Ryan  212,000 
  • Afternoons  181,000
  • Checkpoint  178,000
  • Nights with Bryan Crump  151,000
  • Saturday Morning with Kim Hill  (Saturday 8am-12pm)  181,000
  • Sunday Morning with Wallace Chapman  (Sunday 7am-12pm)   204,000

Definitions: - 'Cumulative audience' is the number of different listeners to a programme over a week.  'Station share' is the percentage of all radio listening that is done during a particular programme time; it takes into account the number of people listening and how long they listen.  These audience figures relate to live listening.

[Source: The All New Zealand Radio Survey, Nielsen, Full Year Quarter 1 2015, among people aged 15+ nationwide. The sample size for this period was 4,297 people.]

How do Radio New Zealand National and Radio New Zealand Concert compare with other radio stations?

Of all radio stations in New Zealand, Radio New Zealand National's cumulative audience of 434,000 listeners makes it Number 3 nationwide for audience size.  Its station share of 9.1% makes it Number 2 among all stations in New Zealand (among people 15+).

Of all stations in New Zealand, Radio New Zealand Concert is 16th in terms of its audience size and its station share.

[Source: The All New Zealand Radio Survey, Nielsen, Full Year Quarter 1 2015. The surveying is completely nationwide, and includes small towns and rural areas. People are randomly selected. The sample size is 4,297 respondents aged 15 years and over.]

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why does Radio New Zealand survey its New Zealand audiences?

It is important for Radio New Zealand to know how many people are listening to its networks and how well they think Radio New Zealand performs against its Charter.

Radio New Zealand is a tax-payer funded public service broadcaster established under the Radio New Zealand Act. Radio New Zealand’s Charter clearly defines the objectives to be achieved and services to be provided by the broadcaster. For example in Section 2 of the Charter the company is required to commission surveys to establish whether audiences consider that the quality and quantity of these services is being maintained.

Radio New Zealand meets its statutory obligation by conducting audience research among both its own audience and also among people who are not current listeners.

How are the radio surveys conducted?

Radio New Zealand commissions an independent research company Nielsen to undertake audience research on its behalf. Nielsen is known worldwide for its media measurement (including radio, TV, print, online).

The radio survey it conducts for Radio New Zealand is called The All New Zealand Radio Survey because it is conducted throughout the country, including remote rural areas.

The All New Zealand Radio Survey runs for 40 weeks of the year between February and November and approximately 4000 people take part during that time. The people surveyed reflect the population distribution based on the latest Statistics New Zealand information.

Respondents complete a Radio Diary in which they record their radio listening in any given quarter hour over the period of a week. They are also asked demographic questions and other questions about their media habits.

In addition, after respondents have completed their radio listening diaries, Radio New Zealand National listeners and Radio New Zealand Concert listeners are asked to fill in a separate questionnaire about these stations.

Much of the resulting information appears in Radio New Zealand’s Annual Report.

Is Radio New Zealand part of commercial radio surveys?

Radio New Zealand ceased to be part of the Research International commercial radio survey in 1999 because the survey did not meet all its requirements as a national broadcaster. Since then Radio New Zealand has commissioned its own audience research.

Radio New Zealand designs and creates its own qualitative and quantitative survey questions to meet the very specific statutory requirements outlined in the Radio New Zealand Charter.

The commercial radio industry continues to gather information about Radio New Zealand but excludes that audience data from published survey information.

Does Radio New Zealand know how it performs against commercial radio stations?

Yes, Radio New Zealand can measure how it performs against other radio across the country. In the same way, commercial radio stations can measure exactly how they compare with Radio New Zealand in their own markets.

What are the differences between radio industry surveys?

There are significant differences between the commercial radio surveys and the Radio New Zealand radio survey. These differences reflect the differing requirements of the two commissioning bodies.

  • Commercial radio surveys are usually conducted twice a year, and each survey period is for six weeks.
  • Radio New Zealand conducts a fully nationwide survey over 40 weeks of the year (February to November).
  • Commercial radio stations, by their nature, are interested in markets with the greatest advertising potential. Radio New Zealand is interested in all New Zealanders regardless of where they live.
  • Commercial surveys are quantitative (audience numbers only) and usually focus on the 3 main centres or 13 metropolitan and provincial centres. Radio New Zealand’s surveying is nationwide providing both quantitative information (number of listeners) and qualitative information (quality of service and programming).
  • Commercial surveys measure audiences 10 years of age and over. Radio New Zealand measures people 15 years of age and over.
  • Radio New Zealand believes its own tailored audience research better reflects the requirements of the Charter.

Important Note:

The commercial radio industry excludes Radio New Zealand audience data from published survey information because Radio New Zealand networks are non-commercial and their listeners are not considered part of the market available to potential advertisers.

There are similarities in the way the commercial radio industry and Radio New Zealand collect information. For example both use Radio Diaries based on quarter hour time segments to collect listening behaviour.

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