Media and Uni Students FAQs | YESmarketing Australia 

Mr Darryl Durrant Head of Media and Strategy at YESmarketing is available for lectures and chats on media. Currently based in Sydney Australia. Contact HERE

Radio as a marketing channel

What is a 30-second radio commercial?

This is generally a 30-second commercial designed to engage sales, idea’s, information and concepts for retail outlets and some brands distributed via the ‘airwaves’ of radio stations on AM or FM. This is now extending to Spotify, Apple Music, Google Music and other streaming services.

(*digital radio is now available in all Cap cities, but uptake in receivers is low, and as of 2020 only runs at around 1% of total listening and audience. Digital gives ‘both’ AM and FM players a level playing field in terms of quality that the signal is broadcast on, much like a phone signal, the transmission is tower to tower)

What lengths can a radio commercial be?

It does change by stations in Australia, but generally, 80-90% of all commercials are 30 seconds long. The other durations of commercials are:

15 second and 60 second

All other recognised lengths are generally negotiated with the individual stations. They can be:

05 second radio commercials

10 second radio commercials
15 second radio commercials
30 second radio commercials
45 second radio commercials
60 second radio commercials

Most non-conforming radio commercials (ie commercials outside the standard 30-second time frame) are charged at a higher rate. Eg a 15-second radio commercial is charged at 75% of the 30-second rate.

Most stations have a 5 and 10-second ads that are generally purchased with normal 15 and 30 second radio ads. You have probably hear them, they sound like:

Coming up next weather for XYZ Solar Hot Water systems, why pay more? 

Call 1800 123 456

What is reach and frequency?

Most stations measure success or potential success of a campaign by “Reach and Frequency” – Simply, the reach is how many people you get to in an advertising campaign (so the term reach). Frequency is how many time the radio commercial will be he heard by a person, normally a frequency of 3 is where you need to be, so a person hears the ad 3 times and can fully understand what the value proposition is for the ad.

How much are 30 second radio commercials?

Please find below approx rates for 1 x 30 second recorded commercial spot on various radio stations in Australia.

For a more detailed update on radio station rates go to MyRadioRates.com.au

Sydney

Rate per 30 second ‘recorded’ commercial

2GB

$400

Kiis FM

$450

2DAY

$300

Triple M

$300

NOVA

$350

Smooth

$375

2CH

$150

954 Music

$150

2SM

$250

 

Melbourne

Rate per 30 second ‘recorded’ commercial

3AW

$500

FOX

$325

GOLD

$400

Triple M

$375

NOVA

$450

Smooth

$450

Kiis FM

$375

SEN

$300

954 Music

$150

 

Brisbane

Rate per 30 second ‘recorded’ commercial

97.3

$350

B105

$300

Triple M

$300

NOVA

$325

4KQ

$200

4BC

$180

Adelaide

Rate per 30 second ‘recorded’ commercial

MIX 102.3 fm

$300

SAFM

$200

Triple M

$180

NOVA

$300

5aa

$250

SEN

$150

 

Perth

Rate per 30 second ‘recorded’ commercial

96fm

$250

Mix

$275

Triple M

$250

NOVA

$300

6PR

$200

6iX

$180

 

Canberra

Rate per 30 second ‘recorded’ commercial

MIX 106.3

$180

FM 104.7

$160

2CC AM

$80

2CA AM

$80

How are voices selected for radio commercials?

Generally, there is a hardcore group of ‘great voice over talent’ that are currently employed on Australian radio and that is approximately 200 voices. They are defined as ‘professional’ voice over artists and derive the majority of their income from straight voice-over work on radio, or TV. 

See our friends at RadioCommercials.com.au - Click here for samples

How many radio stations are in Australia?

Currently, we have over 400 commercial licenses, but it does change from year to year as more licenses are released, but if you go to the industry body that represents all commercial radio stations in Australia, you can get valuable information:

How much does a radio commercial cost to make?

Let me break that into two areas. If your commercial is to be played in a metropolitan market (All Capital Cities) the standard cost for a 30 second commercial to be:

Written, edited, approved by client, sent to production, voiced, music bed added if required, mixed and then submitted to the radio station, approximately $400 - $600

If the commercial is to be made and played in non-metropolitan markets (provincial and regional markets), the same commercial is approximately $200 - $300

How much to advertise on radio in Australia?

Ahhh my best and brightest, the 64 million dollar question. The simple answer is, it varies, and it varies a lot. Influencing factors include:

  • What state are you in
  • What station has the best format
  • What station rates the highest
  • Variations between the number of minutes of commercials a station run per hour
    This can vary from 4 minutes [ 8 x 30-second ads] to 14 minutes [28 x 30 sec ads]

But generally, all these factors come down to a ‘thing’ called CPM (Cost per thousand). How many listeners does the station have and how many thousands of people listen.

'Audience' is measured in a number of ways on radio. 'Share' of the audience. This is a percentage of the total 'Time spent listening' to a radio station and its percentage share of the total time spent listening to all commercial radio stations. 

'Averages' are the average number of listeners per ¼ hour to the station, and finally 'Cume' (cumulative audience listening to a radio station). This is the total number of listeners coming in and out of a station every 15 minutes.

As a general rule, FM stations have a higher 'Cume' than AM stations (FM listeners tend to dial twiddle and flick when commercials come on). AM stations tend to have a higher 'share' of TSL (Time spent listening) as this audience don’t change stations as often

In Australian radio, survey day has traditionally been about who’s first past the post. That is, which station or daypart holds the greatest average audience share of listening (as a percentage).

Ratings are a key part of the marketing side of radio, with advertising being one of, if not the most important cog in the commercial radio machine.

In Australia, advertisers and agencies have always bought advertising on radio based on share, not cume.

But in the UK, and other parts of the world, cumulative audience data (cume) is the key measurement when it comes to gauging success.

After his first survey in Australia, former Absolute Radio host Christian O’Connell told Radio Today that he felt ratings Down Under were “sharper” and that the stakes were higher.

Follow British expat and NOVA Entertainment group program director Paul Jackson often points to cume numbers on survey day when speaking with Radio Today, as a sign that all may not be what it seems, or at least what a share rating may suggest.

In fact, if you look closely at key metro markets, measuring cume numbers often paints quite a different story and can reveal a completely different leader board.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is FM’s stations that tend to dominate the market when it comes to cume.

Example only

In a market of 10,000 people (listeners), you have 10 radio stations. The top 3 stations have the following numbers listening to them:

Station 1 – 5,000 listeners

Station 2 – 3,000 listeners

Station 3 – 1,000 listeners

Cost to advertise:

Station 1 – 5,000 listeners             $500 per 30 second ad, or $100 CPM (cost per thousand)

Station 2 – 3,000 listeners             $300 per 30 second ad, or $100 CPM (cost per thousand)

Station 3 – 1,000 listeners             $100 per 30 second ad, or $100 CPM (cost per thousand)

What can happen is the top rating station, or best-marketed station can charge more than the average CPM for commercials on their station, so in this case Station 1 could charge $120 CPM and therefore the cost for 1 x 30-second radio commercial would be $600, not $500.

Station 2 may stay at the average of $100 CPM

Station 3 may be lower than the average $100 CPM at $75 and therefore the cost for 1 x 30-second radio commercial would be $75, not $100

What is the difference between AM and FM radio?

Up until the 1980’s ALL commercial radio stations were AM. The word ‘AM’ is derived from the definition of ‘how’ the signal is carried (broadcast) through the airwaves.

AM is defined as ‘Amplitude Modulated’

FM is defined by ‘Frequency Modulation’

How many words in a 30-second radio commercial?

Approximately 75 to 85 words depending on 'pace' of reading.
"Brand" ads may be slightly slower with fewer words and more defined, 
"Retail" ads may have more words to create and generate a sense of urgency. 

How many words in a 15-second radio commercial?

Approximately 38 to 42 words?

Can I have any other length radio commercial?

Yes, but most stations accept 15 and 30-second ads. For more information on whether you can run other length radio ads, please speak to your radio station.
Other length ads are 05, 10, 45 and 60-second ads.

Is a phone number one word? 

NO. For 0412 345 678, it’s in fact 10 words, one for each number
(zero, four one, two...three, four, five, six, seven, eight)

Do you recommend using a phone number in commercials?
Generally, NO. Unless you have a cool number to remember 13 13 13
To remember a normal phone number, you would have to say twice (‘cause who can ever remember a phone number after hearing once?) and use a lot of words up.

Should I use my web address in my commercials?
Generally, YES. People remember web page better than a phone number.

Is a price one word? 
NO. For $3,456, it’s in fact 8 words, one for each number.
(three thousand, four hundred and fifty six dollars)

How many voices can I have in any ad or commercial

As many as you want. You normally get charged per voice.
Our experience shows that 80% of all ads are single voice commercials. 
The other 20% is made up of 2 and 3 voice ads.

Do I have to have music under my ad?

NO. But this sometimes help set the mood and tone for the commercial

What is a cold ad?
This is simply a commercial recorded with voice only, and no music or sound effects

Do radio commercials need to be approved?

Short answer is NO. There are no statutory approval processes that exist in TV to get radio commercials approved.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT TV

How many words in a 30 second TV commercial?

Approximately 75 to 85 words depending on 'pace' of read.
"Brand" ads may be slightly slower with less words and more defined, 
"Retail" ads may have more words to create and generate a sense of urgency. 

How many words in a 15 second  TV commercial?

Approximately 38 to 42 words?

Can I have any other length of TV commercial?

Yes, but most stations accept 15 and 30 second ads. For more information on whether you can run other length radio ads, please speak to your radio station.
Other length ads are 05, 10, 45 and 60 second ads.

What’s an advertorial TV commercial?

This is generally a live TV commercial that runs over 60 seconds. These come from a combination of ‘advertising’ and ‘editorial’. So it is a TV commercial that implies it has station endorsement and is normally hosted by a TV presenter with client.

Is a phone number one word? 

NO. For 0412 345 678, it’s in fact 10 words, one for each number
(zero, four one, two...three, four, five, six, seven, eight)

Do you recommend using a phone number in commercials?

Generally, NO. Unless you have a cool number to remember 13 13 13
To remember a normal phone number, you would have to say twice (‘cause who can ever remember a phone number after hearing once?) and use a lot of words up.

But in say this, you can put this information on the screen while the voice over is talking about your business.  This is called a ‘super’, or basically, the information is ‘superimposed’ on the TV ad.

Should I use my web address in my commercials?

Generally, YES. People remember web page better than a phone number. This is normally the last thing with phone and address on the TV commercial.

Is a price one word? 
NO. For $3,456, it’s in fact 8 words, one for each number.
(three thousand, four hundred and fifty six dollars)

How many voices can I have in any ad or commercial?

As many as you want. You normally get charged per voice.
Our experience shows that 80% of all ads are single voice commercials. 
The other 20% is made up of 2 and 3 voice ads.

Do I have to have music under my ad?

NO. But this sometimes help set the mood and tone for the commercial

What is a cold ad?
This is simply a commercial recorded with voice only, and no music or sound effects

I hear TV ads are shorter than radio?

That’s correct. Radio commercials are exactly 30 seconds. TV commercials are 1 second shorted on all length ads. So a 30 second TV commercial is 29 second long.

Why are TV ads shorter?

This is so the TV stations can ‘cue’ the commercials easily for on air. So a 30 second TV commercial has 0.5 seconds blank at the front of the TV ad and 0.5 seconds blank at the end of the TV ad

Are TV ads louder than radio?

I know you think the TV ads are always louder than the program you are watch and we all reach for the remote. There is new sound level protocol in TV called an OP59 what ‘levels’ the TV commercial out.

What is OP-59?

OP-59 has been added to the Free TV OP-48. It refers to a new loudness metering standard. From January 1st  2013, you have been required to meter your TVC to be compliant for both Australia & New Zealand TV commercials.

Has OP-59 replaced OP-48?

NO. OP-59 is a supporting practice created by Free TV, to assist in measuring compliance with OP-48. This is technical and you should never need to know this as the production company who makes the TV ad will be across all this.

Do TV commercials need to be approved?

YES. There is a statutory approval process that exist in TV called CAD to get your TV commercial approved.

About CAD (FREE TV) 

The Code operates alongside the ACMA Standards which regulate programs for children and the Australian content of programs and commercials.
The Code balances the various and often conflicting interests of our diverse society in the delivery of commercial television services.
To view a copy of the Code visit www.clearads.com.au/informationhub 
The Code provides that television commercials (including infomercials) and community service announcements must be classified before they can be broadcast. ClearAds strongly recommends
that television commercials are submitted to ClearAds to be classified before they are submitted for broadcast.

Commercials Advice provides classification and information services to advertisers, agencies and production houses in relation to television commercials and infomercials. The Code provides that television commercials (including infomercials) and community service announcements must be classified before they can be broadcast, CAD strongly recommends that television commercials are submitted to CAD to be classified before they are submitted for broadcast.

It is important to note that CAD does not provide legal advice. It is the responsibility of each advertiser and or its advertising agency to ensure that their commercial/s comply with all relevant laws and regulatory requirements.

For more information about CAD's services, classification procedures and television production guidelines please download a copy of the Classification Handbook.

CAD requires a minimum of two (2) working days prior to your Required By date. Ads containing complex claims or those requiring a detailed review and infomercials will take longer. Processing of submissions received after 5pm will commence the following day.

CAD requires a minimum of two working days, upon receipt of all your TVC materials, to process your application.  However, same day turnaround can be arranged through CAD.  An additional 100 percent of the normally applicable rate will be charged when advertisements are submitted requiring same day classification.  Same day service is in no way guaranteed until it is confirmed by CAD. (Now called Free TV) 


 

The ratings process

The ratings process on Commercial TV in Australia 

OzTAM TV ratings are television audience estimates based on actual viewing behaviour in homes across Australia’s mainland metropolitan markets and nationally for subscription television.

OzTAM’s TV ratings service provider, Nielsen TAM, collects and produces ratings data on OzTAM’s behalf.

Once a household has been recruited onto the panel, all television sets in that home are monitored by a sophisticated metering system called Unitam which captures viewing to all broadcast television channels on all TV sets in that home.

The Unitam meter records and stores all information about viewing including:

  • who is watching
  • the time, duration and date
  • whether each TV is on or off
  • the television audio signal

All household residents and any guests register their presence using a remote control. The panel members do not need to do anything else for OzTAM to capture their viewing.

Every night the data collected by the Unitam meters is retrieved automatically via modem telephone software in a process known as 'polling'.

A sophisticated ‘content matching’ process of matching the audio captured from the panel homes to a reference library of all available TV broadcast channels within each market is used to measure viewing to individual channels, whether the viewing is Live (i.e., as the program actually went to air) As Live (paused or recorded programming played back before 2am on the same day of the original broadcast) and Time Shift to 7 (recorded broadcast content played back through the TV set after the same Research Day and within seven days of the original broadcast). From April 2016, OzTAM also offers Consolidated 28 viewing in its television ratings database, capturing viewing through the TV set up to 28 days after the broadcast first went to air. 

The production system collates, processes, analyses, validates, weights and produces a final report of each household's viewing.

Once the production processes have been completed, the television program schedules provided by the TV networks and ratings are integrated. All data undergoes rigorous quality control both electronically and manually.

The output is a database of minute-by-minute viewing audiences. Individual households and viewers are anonymous; only demographic profile data is released.

Results are provided each morning and this Overnight data (programs that were watched as they actually went to air or recorded that day and played back before 2am that morning) is available to OzTAM subscribers via a secure website.

Because programs sometimes run beyond their scheduled time, for example, a football match goes into overtime or a news broadcast is extended because of a major story, OzTAM’s Overnight ratings are based on Preliminary times – that is, according to the program schedules the television networks provide prior to broadcast.

In the event a program’s actual telecast time differs from the schedule, TV networks have until the afternoon following broadcast to inform OzTAM. The next day OzTAM republishes the ratings based on Confirmed times.

  • For example, on Monday morning, OzTAM supplies Preliminary Overnight ratings for programs that aired on Sunday (the day before). On Tuesday morning, OzTAM will reissue Overnight ratings for Sunday based on Confirmed times.

Along with Preliminary Overnight ratings, each morning OzTAM releases Consolidated 7 data for the same Research Day a week earlier, incorporating Live and Playback viewing within seven days of the original broadcast (OzTAM's Time Shift Viewing service).

  • For example, on Monday morning, OzTAM supplies Consolidated ratings for programs that aired the previous Sunday (8 days earlier).

From 2016, OzTAM also offers 28-day Time Shift Viewing in its elemental database, allowing clients to track viewing of television programs played back through the TV set up to 28 days after the program went to air. Consolidated 28 data is available 29 days following the research day of the original broadcast.

See this one-page PDF on The Ratings Process for an illustration.

More about the OzTAM Panel

Please note OzTAM uses a different methodology to capture viewing of internet-delivered TV content. Please see the Video Player Measurement section for details.

This information compiled and updated in August 2020 by:
Darryl Durrant - Head of Media and Strategy at YESmarketing.com.au Email