Friday, June 24, 2011

Major Variations in Netherlands Public Radio Production Costs

Colleagues in the Critical Distance Network are going through the published analysis by the Boston Consulting Group about Netherlands Public Broadcasting this weekend.

The last time we saw this kind of detail about Dutch public broadcasting was in a McKinsey report from 2003. I see that the Dutch government website which used to host the report has taken it down. So, seeing as it has been in the public domain for so long, I've put it back on the Interwebs. It's in Dutch, but it makes for a fascinating comparison with the latest report from the Boston Consulting Group.

Interesting that the Boston Consulting Group is trying to work out efficiency norms, but it hasn't really compared the different staffing needs of the different formats. Compared with the commercial sector in Holland and neighbouring countries, Dutch Public radio is well staffed. While the BCS think they can make savings at Radio 4, I am astonished to see that 10% of the 750 Full-Time-Equivalents in public radio are working for Radio 5. This is the world's most schizophrenic network being a "golden oldies" music format during the week and a dumping ground for a myriad of short speech programmes at the weekend. The overall market share of 2.9%, up from nothing a few years ago, was because of the music programmes during the week not the labour intensive stuff shoved out at the weekend. I see the same report is suggesting that transmission costs can be reduced by cutting 1008 kHz AM. Why not re-examine the raison d'ĂȘtre of the whole network?

By contrast, Radio 1, the news and opinion network, has a market share that has stayed at around 8 percent since radio time began although the staffing levels have grown to 308 FTE's ! Radio 6, a jazz network has 47 FTE's, and Radio 4 (classical music) a market share of 1.9 and a staff of 83. Compare that with Business News Radio which come up with a very competent programme format with a staff of around 36. 

No one seems to be talking about the reach of FunX, which is also financed by the public purse to the tune of 2 million Euro per year and yet consistently fails to show up in ratings AT ALL.What started as a clever urban radio project has seriously lost its way. The reason BCS ignores it in their report is because it doesn't have national coverage.

  1. Radio 538 12.2  (12.0)  [10.7]
  2. Radio 3FM* 9.8  (9.8)  [9.4]
  3. Radio 2* 9.6  (9.5)  [9.7]
  4. Radio 1* 8.3  (8.2)  [7.3]
  5. Sky Radio 7.9  (8.0)  [8.4]
  6. Q-music 7.2  (6.9)  [6.6]
  7. Radio Veronica 5.0  (5.2)  [6.0]
  8. 100%NL 4.2  (4.1)  [4.2]
  9. Radio 5* 2.9  (2.9)  [3.0]
  10. Radio 10 Gold 2.6  (2.6)  [2.6]
  11. Slam!FM 2.5  (2.5)  [2.1]
  12. Radio 4* 1.9  (2.0)  [2.2]
  13. Classic FM 1.5  (1.6)  [2.1]
  14. Arrow Classic Rock 0.9  (1.1)  [1.3]
  15. BNR Nieuwsradio 0.8  (0.8)  [0.9]
  16. Kink FM 0.4  (0.5)  [0.4]
  17. Arrow Jazz FM 0.4  (0.4)  [0.4]
  18. Radio 6 soul & jazz* 0.3  (0.2)  [--]

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