Monday, 9 July 2007

"Welome to... yesterday's show!"

Johnny Vaughan's Breakfast Show on Capital now runs for 4 hours. Well... sort of...

Today, the main body of the show shifted from 7am to 10am, with the 'ole favourite of running the "highlights" of the previous days show between 6am and 7am.

On the plus side, if you're a fan of Johnny, you'll get an extra hour... well, you'll get some of the best bits you enjoyed the day before repeated.

When I heard about this move, it got me thinking (yes -painful as it was) about what the motivations for this decision were.

It could all be about ratings of course! In theory, one can argue that the cume of the show should now be measured between 6am and 10am... the duration of the entire programme. Adding in an extra hour will increase the total reach. However, we all know that most of the media will dismiss the first hour, coz it's not live, and compare the 7am - 10am hours instead. Having said that, the 9am - 10am hour usually generates far more audience than 6am - 7am, so whichever you cut it... the numbers should improve with this move.

(It feels a little bit like that old trick of reducing your measured survey area a little bit, to give you a better percentage overall!)

Extending the 'Johnny' brand an hour into the daytime so more people get to sample him could be an underlying theme, however I find this unlikely to be the lead factor.

With the rise and rise of time shift listening and non-linear radio, surely it may have made more sense to develop and promote a stronger 'listen again' proposition and get consumers more familiar with this?

The official press release said something like "This change mean that Londoners will be able to enjoy Johnny at whatever time they get up or travel to work" (Not strictly true if you get up at 10am... but we get the point!)

Although there's live news and travel in the first hour, I can't help feel that the audience are being cheated a bit.

In a world class city like London, where lots of people get up at 6am, having a re-run of yesterdays funny bits in peaktime, seems a bit cheap. How can the 'sense of the day' at the start of the day really be conveyed in editorial, when you're running gags from the previous day.

If they decided to run the 'best of' bits between 5am and 6am, I could argue the case that this would be acceptable... but from 6am? Sorry - I think Londoners deserve a fully live morning show from 6am.

The upshot of the move is a nudging effect for one of Capital's strongest benchmarks - Flirty at 9:30. It's been there for quite some time now, and it seems a double negative whammy to have to move this highly popular feature an hour later too.

I look forward to the next RAJAR press conference where there will undoubtedly be a bun fight over the figures!

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