RNZ audience research shows growing recognition of the value of public media

31st May 2024

RNZ research revealed an increase in people’s trust and appreciation of the public broadcaster’s value and role in society. 

Wellington New Zealand - February 9 2020: Sign on building of Radio New Zealand, which is the main public broadcaster in radio, providing commercial-free radio. Credit: Jon lyall/Shutterstock

This press release was originally published on RNZ.

RNZ’s latest survey into its performance against its strategy and Charter objectives shows New Zealanders are increasingly aware of the value of public media and appreciative of its role.

Verian (formerly Kantar Public) Value Indices survey was conducted between 29 April and 8 May 2024, with a sample of 1,500 New Zealanders aged 18 or over.

It showed that 74% of New Zealanders agree it’s important to have a public service broadcaster, a 5 percentage point increase from when we last surveyed in 2023.

New Zealanders are also more aware of RNZ, with 84% aware of the organisation, up from 79% in 2023.  And there was an increase in trust in RNZ, from 44% last year to 47% this year.

More New Zealanders agree that RNZ provides a valuable service, increasing from 54% to 61% – the highest agreement to that question since the survey in its current form began in 2018. There were also small increases in all the questions we asked around RNZ’s content.

RNZ Chief Executive and Editor in Chief Paul Thompson said it was pleasing to see RNZ moving in the right direction as it works through its strategy.

“While we know that awareness of media would have been influenced by the media itself being a prominent story for most of 2024, we can see growing recognition of the role of public media which plays a more important role than ever in fostering our national identity and freedom of thought and expression.”

Read more: A commitment to Māori content

As well as looking at our audience and its engagement with RNZ through our regular value indices research, we continue to take part in the industry-wide GfK Survey. The latest results show our radio audience is consistent.

In a typical week in Survey 1 2024, 639,600 New Zealanders aged 10+ listen to RNZ National, and RNZ Concert. This is a slight increase from the last survey (634,800).

RNZ National’s audience 10+ is 529,800 in a typical week (532,200 in the last survey).

We saw an increase in RNZ Concert listeners in Survey 1 2024. In a typical week 184,500 New Zealanders aged 10+ listen to RNZ Concert (174,800 in the last survey).

Market share remains steady for RNZ in this survey. The total share across RNZ National and Concert is 12.5% (12.6% in the last survey).

The number of listeners to all radio across Aotearoa is 3,648,100 (3,642,600 in the last survey).

Meanwhile, RNZ’s digital audience continues to build, with a 1.2 million audience for in March, contributing to a digital audience increase overall of 52% year-on-year (April 2023 to April 2024).

Listen toour podcast

Uncovering and exploring the biggest
issues facing public media

Collaboration and our role in the media sector 

Thompson said RNZ would continue to look for ways to support the wider sector in its role as a cornerstone provider.

“If we want to continue to see our communities reflected in our media, to see and hear what makes us uniquely New Zealand, by both commercial and public media, then we need to look at ways to help the industry thrive.”

One of the main ways RNZ plays a role in the wider sector is through its content sharing agreements, there are now 65 agreements in place. RNZ recently signed a collaboration agreement with Mediaworks that sees RNZ news stories available to run on MediaWorks radio stations and MediaWorks sports content available for use on RNZ’s channels. RNZ is continuing to look at opportunities to work with both public and commercial media organisations to ensure New Zealand audiences can benefit from a greater range of content.

The Local Democracy Reporter (LDR) scheme (jointly funded by RNZ and NZ on Air) is now at its fully funded capacity of 16 reporters and stories produced by LDR reporters (focusing exclusively on stories about publicly appointed or elected officials or bodies) now consistently deliver over one million page views per month.

Key appointments 

RNZ is a year into a four-year business plan that aims to modernise and transform the organisation. To support this transformation, a reorganisation of RNZ’s news and content leadership teams occurred early in 2024. The changes, aimed at increasing collaboration and developing RNZ’s storytelling across all platforms, resulted in new roles being created. Those roles have now been filled with Ali Ventura appointed to the role of RNZ National Content Director, Clio Francis appointed Executive Editor News Gathering and Elliott Samuels appointed Executive Editor International.

Elsewhere at RNZ, Hilary Parker has been appointed as RNZ’s Chief Financial Officer and former Wellington Bureau Chief Kate Gudsell has taken on a new role as Emergency Planning Manager, a position established to ensure that RNZ is prepared to meet its obligations as a designated critical Lifeline Utility under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act.