Hamish & Andy to infinity and beyond!

Hamish & Andy after five years of their national daily drive show have decided to hang up the boots and move onto bigger and better things. All that is known so far is that there will be a continuing relationship with Austereo and the Today Network via a once a week 2-hour drive show, which will also be available for download as a free podcast. The boys will also be available for additional projects with Austereo throughout the year.

The dynamic duo have rewritten radio history over the past few years not only dominating in the radio ratings but also picking up a swag of awards at the 2007, 2008 and 2009 Australian Commercial Radio Awards. Until the latest ratings survey, they had no lost a ratings survey in any metropolitan market since 2008, an amazing achievement. According to Nielsen Survey #5, the Hamish & Andy show won all metro-markets apart from Adelaide and maintained a 20% or better ratings share in the drive slots in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth markets.  According to Austereo they reach 2.7 million listeners each week.

The radio show is also downloaded in podcast form an average of 800,000 times a week whilst the boys’ official facebook fan page has over 500,000 followers. The radio show is also syndicated to regional stations around Australia and daily into New Zealand. Whilst weekly the boys can be heard on Dubai 92 in the United Arab Emirates. Their show has also been heard through specials on BBC Radio 6 and Absolute Radio in the UK. Their website has also been an incredibly popular destination especially during their hilarious stunts and expeditions. This includes some 9.3 million page impressions during their Tall Ship adventure to Tasmania.

The success of Hamish & Andy clearly is of huge value to the Today Network nationally not only in the drive slot but also having a spill over effect into other timesolts. According to a recent estimate by Morgan Stanley’s media analyst Andrew McLeod the Hamish & Andy brand brings in up to  $40 million of Austereo’s $265 million revenue. This is around 15% of Austereo’s revenue which encompasses the Today Network, MMM Network and an array of digital radio station assets. No doubt the new program from Hamish & Andy next year will be of considerable worth to Austereo and will be sought after by advertisers in a similar vein to Masterchef ad slots. Austereo will be working hard to ensure they can continue to generate solid revenue from Hamish & Andy as their airtime with the Today Network will be more valuable going forward over the next two years.

According to the Austereo press release Hamish & Andy said: “The idea of giving up the show completely was never considered as it is the most fun in the world. In addition to that, the listeners create the show just as much as us, so if we were to stop, we’d have had to consult every one of them. That’s an expensive phone bill.”

“Many ideas have been put on the backburner over the last 5 years as they couldn’t work in conjunction with daily radio. We thought 2011 was a good time to put some of those ideas on the front- burner,” Andy said.

This begs the question what is next for the power duo?  Shifting to a weekly format for Austereo may lead to a further global syndication of the radio show including into new European and North American markets. There is no doubt that their faces will most likely pop up on television more regularly rather than guest spots or one-off specials. Another crack at the Hamish & Andy TV show may now be in order. Apart from that it is anyone’s guess as to what Hamish & Andy will be doing.

However there is no doubt that they will be in high demand. Evidence of their mass appeal has been seen recently through the response to their Frank Stallone concert (which sold out in 4 minutes) and the thousands who turned out to see Frank Stallone parade through the Melbourne CBD. Hamish & Andy could also be credited with getting Stallone’s 1980s hit ‘Far from Over’ song back into the Top 100 online singles chart as the song (or snippets of it) was continuously played during the Hamish & Andy show. The boys also managed to get their good mate Horgs’ debut single (sung by Newton Faulkner) topping online download charts.

CEO Austereo, Guy Dobson said: “It’s great to have Hamish & Andy continuing to share the journey across the next two years. They are an integral part of the Austereo team. It’s going to continue to be awesome for the Today Network brand.”

It will be interesting to see what day the Hamish & Andy broadcast on Austereo next year (this website is tipping Friday) and who will replace the team. Sky News Business‘ Mediaweek program speculated a music format could replace the Hamish & Andy show and still generate a good revenue stream for Austereo. Whilst the Music Network who spoke to Craig Bruce, Austereo’s Head of Content said that the new drive show will be a national form headed by current Hamish & Andy show  producer Sam Cavanagh.

Bruce told TMN, “we want to make sure there’s a point of difference from what they are doing now. That’s not to throw the baby out with the bathwater but I think it’s highly unlikely we’ll have a male duo. Whether we do a broader four-hander (four hosts) or three-hander, we’ll try and make it different as we can to distinguish it.”

Whatever the format it will be difficult for Austereo to find that X factor that Hamish & Andy have. Other networks including ARN’s Mix and DMG’s Nova have tried to topple Hamish & Andy in drive with a similar format over the past few years without success.

The media market waits in anticipation of what Hamish & Andy will do next and how Austereo will plug 10 hours of radio each week (the boys also do a Saturday morning show – packaged highlights of their daily show). No doubt whatever they do it will be a success.

What do you think Hamish & Andy should do next? Give us your thoughts below.

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