Q4 RAJAR Figures analysis

24 Feb

From the Premiership title to the Presidential elections, 2016 was full of unexpected results. Has that continued with the Q4 2016 RAJAR listener survey? Our expert analysts have been poring over the figures to give you the lowdown on the very latest results.

Overall, it’s great news, with more than 90% of the adult (15+) population enjoying the huge choice of listening radio offers. That’s 48.7 million people – up nearly half a million year on year – listening for more than 1 billion weekly hours over the quarter. Commercial Radio and the BBC remain very close in number of listeners with less than a quarter of a million separating the two sectors nationally.

Here’s our detailed analysis of how the Commercial Radio results breakdown by platform and area.

Nationals and Networks

Starting with a wider view of the big groups, Bauer has had a generally steady quarter, while Global has experienced more fluctuations than they would probably like.

The Wireless Group, acquired by News UK at the start of the quarter, have put themselves in a good position for growth under the new owner with flagship talkSPORT gaining 150,000 listeners.

For Bauer, the Absolute network gained nearly 60,000 listeners and a solid 5% increase in hours.  Kiss UK continues to flourish with an additional 47,000 listeners and 7% increase in hours.  The City network has maintained both its reach and  hours.

The highlights for Global will be a growth in listeners to premium brand Classic FM (still the largest national station), and the support they have given to Radio X helping it gain a solid increase in hours year on year.

Digital

Digital listening continues to grow in importance with share now 45.2% – up from 41.7% the previous year. 31 million adults now own a DAB radio (+6% year on year) and this is still the main digital platform, but listening via DTV, online and or an app are all in the mix.

Many listeners are now preferring to listen to their favourite analogue stations via digital means, but the increased choice digital offers also gives new content. Among the digital only stations, generally the most popular are brand extensions of existing formats, but a special mention should go to standalone Fun Kids which doubled its London audience (the only place it’s measured).

The Absolute decades stations continue to be popular, and Mellow Magic has enticed 22,000 new listeners and enjoyed a healthy 12% increase in hours.

The jury’s still out on Virgin Radio and talkRADIO, but talkSPORT2 has gained 44,000 listeners proving there may be more to sport than football.

London

The battle of the big music stations has seen Kiss 100 return to claim the top spot in reach. Capital 95.8 slipped back to be virtually neck and neck with Magic 105.4, leaving it all to play for among the top 3.

No doubt bolstered by a turbulent year of politics, LBC 97.3 has built on its position as number 1 in listening hours with an 8% increase. It also gained in reach with over 1 million listeners now tuning into the conversation.

Offering answers of a different kind, Premier Christian Radio has also grown impressively with reach up 11% on the quarter and 35% year on year. Hours are also up 8%.

The breakfast show slot is always a highly contested and coveted prize, and in this quarter the winner was Kiss 100, with LBC 97.3, Magic 105.4, Smooth 102.2 and Radio X all making gains.

Overall, among the big players, Bauer has stepped up its game to leave Global with some work to do in the year ahead.

Top 3 stations by Weekly Reach

Kiss 100 – 1,860,000
Capital London – 1,730,000
Magic 105.4 – 1,723,000

Top 3 stations by Total Listening Hours

LBC 97.3 – 11,350,000
Magic 105.4 – 9,788,00
Kiss 100 – 9,398,000

The Local Picture … in England

Proving that loyal listenership is the foundation of local radio reach has generally been steady across the ILR stations, but many have grown their total weekly hours through longer average listening hours. A few stations in the Bauer city network stations have had very good results, but we’ll pick out the highlights region by region.

In the North East, heritage station Metro Radio has gained a very significant 22% in reach and now has 367,000 weekly listeners. Star NE is definitely shining with a 9% increase in total hours since last quarter. Heart North East and Smooth North East have both experienced growth in both weekly reach and total listening hours.

Over in the North West, Radio City is up by 13% in total hours while sister station Radio City 2 has increased 37% since last quarter. Blackpool’s Rock FM has given itself a  big stick to hit the competition with by increasing reach to 215,000 and total hours by 34%.  Rock 2 increased total hours by an incredible 47%. Tower FM has seen a high rise in total hours – up 49% quarter on quarter. Manx Radio is up 6% in reach and 16% in hours. Wire FM is holding steady on hours, but has increased reach by 18% to 33,000. 2BR has shown huge growth as it expanded its TSA to include DAB and merged with The Bee. Heart North West saw a 15% rise in overall listening hours. Capital Manchester increased in both weekly reach and total hours. Smooth North West’s audience tune in for the longest compared to the other Smooth regionals.

Yorkshire has seen Radio Aire gain both reach and hours since Q3 with total hours up by 16%. Radio Mansfield is up 15% in reach and 38% in total hours. Rother FM is up 14% in hours, and Trax FM is on track for success with 13% increases in reach and 17% in hours. Stray FM is also staying on course – up 14% in total hours.

Looking to the East and listeners are now tuning in to Norwich 99.9 for nearly 12 hours per week on average, giving the station an increase of 39% in total hours compared to last quarter.  Town FM is up by 15%, Connect FM is up by 13% and KLFM is up 11% in total hours.

In the Midlands, Free Radio Coventry has grown its audience by 12% to 105,000 and average hours have also increased so total hours are up 47%. Capital East Midlands had a slight dip overall, but the Derbyshire audience demonstrate their love for the brand with an increase in weekly reach by 11% and total listening hours by 8%. Capital Birmingham increased its total listening hours by 8%.

The South East has seen one of the strongest ILR stories this quarter, with the KMFM group up by 29% in total hours. The majority of that comes from West Kent, which grew reach by 15% to 84,000 and total hours by a very impressive 66%. Audiences are listening for longer to Capital South Coast, with a 3% increase in total hours – up from 1,145,000 in Q3 to 1,176,000 this quarter.

Across in the South West, the Sam FM brand is making a name for itself. In Bristol it’s up by 25% in total hours and Swindon by 16%. On the South Coast, Sam FM has grown its audience by 16% to 171,000. With many major brands to compete with in the region it’s a fantastic achievement. Smooth West Country is doing particularly well, increasing by 34% in weekly reach and 17% in overall listening hours. Heart Solent has also increased in weekly reach and total hours. Wessex FM is up 15% in total hours since last quarter. IOW Radio is up 17% in total and Jack FM Berkshire has grown total weekly listening hours by 50% since Q3.

… in Northern Ireland

Local radio is proving ever more popular in Northern Ireland. Reach is up, up, up, with nearly every station growing its audience. Only Cool FM bucked the trend with a slight cool down in reach quarter on quarter, but still showing overall gains year on year.

The big winner is U105 who posted a 15% increase in reach and 23% increase in hours, more than making up for a slight dip last time round.

Downtown Radio has made more modest gains with a 6% increase in reach, and slight dip in hours.  If we take the longer view, however, Downtown has shown it’s really on the up with a 20% hike in reach and a 34% hike in hours year on year.

… in Scotland

It has been a fantastic quarter for radio in Edinburgh with Forth One and Forth Two both reporting significant growth. Listeners now tune into Forth One for an average of 10.7 hours per week, helping to boost the station’s total listening hours by 26%. Forth Two has also reported some pretty dramatic results with a 36% increase in reach and a 40% increase in hours.

Across the central belt, it looks like the City Network heritage stations are winning the battle against the new Capital and Heart brands, with Forth and Clyde both reporting substantial growth in listening hours.

Over in Fife, local station Kingdom FM is battling for the crown with a strong set of results – a 6% increase in reach and a 21% increase in hours.

Local radio is also going strong up in Aberdeen with Original 106 reporting a solid 14% hike in both hours and reach.

… in Wales

Capital North West and Wales has reported an incredible surge in listening hours this quarter with the average listener now tuning for more than 9 hours per week. Compared to the average 5.5 hours across the Capital Network, this is phenomenal.

Heart South Wales remains a formidable force in the Welsh marketplace, reporting a 13% increase in its total listening hours. This builds on a respectable set of figures last quarter, and it now reaches 26% of its potential audience each week.

Dragon Radio has been a roaring success with 36% growth in reach and a 30% in hours. Whilst it’s still a small station, it’s certainly one to watch if this trend continues.

Other notable success stories include Nation Radio, Radio Pembrokeshire and Bridge FM all reporting solid growth in their total listening hours. Special mention goes to Nation Radio which has shown a 13% rise in reach and 14% in hours.

Summary

Commercial radio is in rude health overall, and the trend for digital listening shows consistent growth. There are many strong local stories and, with News UK entering the market, the established groups will be looking at how they can shore up and improve their brands in 2017.

Contact us if you have any questions about how this latest RAJAR will affect your radio advertising, and to discuss how you can take advantage of the latest airtime and sponsorship opportunities

Extend your reach with Digital Audio

6 Jul

Digital Audio now reaches more people than ever before in the UK – 19.4 million, up from 15 million in 2013 (RAJAR Midas).

Digital Audio is defined as any audio content streamed on a connected device. This includes digital and online radio, music streaming, podcasting and on-demand audio.

Currently, 65% of these services offer audio advertising and whilst some of us might choose to pay subscriptions to avoid hearing ads on music services like Spotify, 51% of all time spent with digital audio will expose listeners to advertising. If the U.S experience is anything to go by, it’s a trade-off listeners are willing to accept. Edison Research found that 75% of digital audio users felt advertising is a fair price to pay for free content.

With more users consuming Digital Audio there are now more opportunities for advertisers to target listeners with audio ads alongside video and display advertising formats. Audiences can be targeted through sophisticated audience segmentation, geographically, by device or by internet service provider. There are also options to buy programmatically.

Digital Audio is perfect for extending reach to specific audiences that are sometimes hard to pin-point with traditional advertising formats, but advertisers often combine both to maximize return on investment.

Radio Experts can help brands navigate this complex array of opportunities and pin-point the perfect solutions. Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising. tim.cowland@radioexperts.co.uk. @timcradioexpert

 

Tune in to Digital Radio audiences

27 May

Radio audience figures released last week by RAJAR, show digital now accounts for 44.1% of all radio listening – up from 41.7% on the previous quarter.

Ownership of a DAB digital radio also increased to 55.7% of the population, with 30 million adults now owning a DAB radio – that’s an increase of 14% year on year.

There’s no doubt that digital listening is still growing. This is likely to fuel the investment by commercial radio groups in developing more diverse and highly targeted stations, such as Share Radio, Fun Kids and Panjab Radio.

With more digital stations, there are increased opportunities for brands to “tune in” to audiences using  hyper-targeting.  This opens up a whole new world creatively, enabling the advertiser to develop radio concepts that match the “need state” of the listener with pin-point precision.

To maximise results in this new multi-channel digital world, radio advertisers will need to consider their creative much more carefully.  Getting the voice-casting just right and making intelligent music choices will ensure the ad is congruent to the station, making the most of these hyper-targeting opportunities.

Radio Experts can help brands navigate this complex array of opportunities and pin-point the perfect solutions. Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising agency

RAJAR Q1 2016

19 May

Welcome to RAJAR day. The results for Q1 2016 are in and with a Red Bull in hand (other energy drinks are available) our experts have been pouring over the figures, assessing the changes and forming a view on the overall radio listenership trends during the quarter.

The way people consume media today is ever-changing. The media landscape is shifting with press, TV and online companies all battling to re-invent themselves, in a world that demands constant evolution. What this RAJAR demonstrates is that radio is still hugely popular – steady, reliable and consistently delivering loyal audiences.

Overall, commercial radio’s share of listening is 43.2%, up from 42.8% year on year. Share of national listening is also up 14.6% from 14.2%, as is reach – up by 6% to 18.2 million.

There are plenty of fascinating stories to take out of this quarter’s results, but here are some of the key insights nationally and locally.

Nationals and Networks
One of the most fascinating stories revolves around Radio X. This was always going to be the RAJAR where changes to the brand and programming last year really started to make their mark. They put in a solid performance with an increase in total listening hours but interestingly most of the gains came from outside of London.

In the battle between the Global and Bauer brands, Global still has the bigger numbers in terms of reach and hours but Bauer have made the biggest gains. Magic has pulled an increase of 3% reach and 5% in hours out of the hat. The Kiss audience has remained stable but Absolute Radio’s 15% increase in total hours to 15.7million is great news for the popular rock station.

The Digital radio success story continues – with DAB, DTV and online now accounting for 44.1% of all radio listening. And it’s no surprise that ownership of DAB radios has increased to 55.7%.

Digital stations that are making a noise this RAJAR include Planet Rock and Absolute 80s. Planet Rock has increased by 10% in reach and, more impressively, have rocked out with a guitar-twanging increase of 30% in total hours.

Absolute 80s keeps growing as fast as an 80’s mullet with a weekly reach of 1.7 million, up by 9% – their highest ever.

Kisstory is on a high – up in both weekly reach and total hours by 3%. Other Absolute brands – 70s, 90s and Classic Rock have seen a more mixed picture of gains and losses.

London
London has had a quieter than usual RAJAR quarter with only 3 of the 14 major London stations increasing in reach.

Capital 95.8 is king as the largest reaching station in London, with nearly 2.3 million listeners tuning in each week – an increase of 10% compared to the last quarter.

Capital has also won the battle for breakfast in London with Dave Berry and new co-presenters George Shelley and Lilah Parsons. The weekly audience is up 35% year on year, so didn’t suffer from the departure of long-standing co-host Lisa Snowdon.

Heart can claim the prize for the most listening hours in London, beating its stable-mate LBC.

Absolute Radio will be absolutely ecstatic with their performance in the capital, with a rise of 22% in total listening hours. The Christian O’Connell breakfast show has also achieved its highest ever audience.

Analysing the smaller London stations, Premier Christian Radio has gained 11% in reach and 42% in total listening. Meanwhile, Sunrise is resurgent, winning back the majority of the listeners they lost in the last quarter, up 25% in reach and 22% in hours.

These are the top 5 stations in London in terms of reach

1.    Capital London         2,286,000

2.    Kiss 100                     2,011,000

3.    Magic 105.4              1,745,000

4.    Heart London           1,547,000

5.    LBC 97.3                   1,001,000

And here’s the ranking in terms of total hours:

1.    Heart London           9,482,000

2.    Capital London         9,474,000

3.    LBC 97.3                   8,993,000

4.    Magic 105.4              8,812,000

5.    Kiss 100                     8,726,000

Northern Ireland
Across the Irish sea the mist is clearing as Downtown Radio has bounced back from a couple of disappointing quarters, with a 12% increase in reach and a 21% increase in hours – the only Northern Irish station to increase both reach and hours this quarter.

Both Q brand radio stations have managed to up their average listening hours with Q Radio Belfast showing a spike in total hours of 12% and the Q Network increasing by 6%. The relatively recent rebrand from Citybeat doesn’t seem to have harmed Q Radio Belfast, with the station growing its listenership both quarters since the name change.

Scotland
Heart Scotland hasn’t missed a beat as it’s managed to build on the solid 35% increase in total hours it achieved last quarter, adding a further 7% this time round. This brings its total hours up to 3,641,000, which Year on Year is a 29.2% increase in hours. It’s a stellar performance.

Capital Scotland has also had a good RAJAR, with a slight increase in reach and a 12% boost in hours. This means that Capital Scotland still holds the top spot in its battle against Heart Scotland in terms of reach, but Heart has is still dominant in terms of total hours.

Over in Edinburgh, there have been some fairly hefty swings this RAJAR,  but one highlight is local DAB station, Forth 3. It’s had a colossal uplift in its total hours of 96%, but bear in mind this only takes their total weekly hours up to 49,000.

West Sound & Radio Borders have both had slight uplifts in reach and hours, and now achieve impressive reach percentage figures of 47% and 53% respectively.

Smooth Radio Scotland has also has had a decent quarter with a 3% increase in reach and a 4% increase in hours.

Wales
They’ll be singing their hearts out in the north of the principality as Heart North Wales reported a 36% increase in hours – that’s 11.77% year on year. Owners Global Radio will also be celebrating the success of Smooth Radio South Wales – upping its total hours by 16%.

96.4 The Wave has the distinction of being the only Welsh station to increase both reach and hours this quarter, although the change is marginal.

The Local Picture
Let’s start in the South and after a great Q4 result at the end of 2015, the KMFM group has as another great move forward – closing the gap on Heart Kent further with a 23% increase in their total hours.

Elsewhere in Kent, it’s smooth sailing for the Smooth brand in Kent with a 25% uplift in hours. But people still love Heart – it retains the honour of being most listened to station in the area.

If you want a taste of Cornwall, the waters stay calm for Pirate FM as it retains its positive position from last quarter with another increase in hours.

As mentioned earlier, one of the major talking points for Q1 is how did Radio X perform? Well, in Manchester the brand switch up seems to be working, with gains in both in hours and reach (up 23% from 1,011,000 to 1,239,000  total hours and up 6% in weekly reach.) However, Capital Manchester still remains the most dominant station, even with a slight decrease of 7% in hours.

The AM stations are doing well, perhaps due in part due to the ageing UK population. Global’s Smooth brand is doing well in Cambridge – up 59% in hours and Smooth Devon has also posted a big increase – up 46% in hours.

Looking to the big cities, particularly across the north, the heritage stations are seeing great loyalty from listeners. Bauer’s Big City Network put in a strong  performance during Q1. TFM 2 deserves a mention – up 65% in hrs (from 84,000 to 139,000) and also 36% in reach – a great performance from the Teesside station.

In other news north of the border Metro 2 is up 52% in hours and 12% in reach. Blackpool’s Rock FM 2 is also up 20% in hours.

Going ultra-local, residents in West Sussex are getting into the spirit by getting behind their local station Spirit FM and listening for longer – total hours up 19% from 441,000 to 524,000.

There’s a favourable wind behind The Breeze brand. The Breeze Basingstoke, Newbury and Andover is up 36% in hours and up 33% in reach compared to the last quarter. Over in Cheltenham, The Breeze is up 45% in hours.

There’s also a revolution in Oldham with their local station (The Revolution) up 37% in hours and 5% in reach.

Summary
Overall, commercial radio continues to evolve with new brands, new stations and new technology driving growth. The results from Q1 shows that there is still massive loyalty to radio across the UK. Within a media sea of change, Radio is the ship with a strong hand on the rudder!

We’ve got all the data, so if you like to know more about what the latest RAJAR figures mean for you call us on 0203 588 3000 or visit our site to read more about our radio advertising

Bauer Media buys Orion Media

9 May

It’s been announced that Bauer Media has bought the radio group Orion Media. Orion was created in 2009 from the enforced sale of several radio stations in the Midlands that were owned by Global Radio (and prior to that, by GCap Media). This deal will see Bauer take control of stations including Gem 106 and Free Radio. As Bauer already handle the national sales contract for the Orion stations, it’s unlikely that there will be any immediate changes to advertising opportunities. However, the purchase might be subject to investigation by competition regulators.

The stations involved in the deal are as follows:

Free Radio Birmingham (formerly BRMB) broadcasting across Birmingham

Free Radio Coventry & Warwickshire (formerly Mercia)

Free Radio Herefordshire & Worcestershire (formerly Wyvern)

Free Radio Shropshire & Black Country (formerly Beacon)

Gem 106 [East Midlands] (formerly Heart 106)

Free Radio 80’s [West Midlands] (formerly Gold)

Bauer have yet to announce their plan for the Orion Media stations. It maybe that the Free FM stations and Gem 106 will be added to Bauer’s City 1 Network and Free Radio 80’s to the City 2 Network.

We’ll keep you up to date with any further announcements on this from Bauer, as they happen. Radio Experts can help brands navigate this complex array of opportunities and pin-point the perfect solutions Call us on 0203 588 3000 or visit our site to read more about our radio advertising

The Pitch of a Politician

6 May

With the next few months seeing both local elections and the EU in – out referendum, we’re already hearing a host of politicians’ voices.

We’re not listening to their pitch (what they’re saying) but their pitch (how they’re saying it).

Studies led by Rosario Signorello from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, found that successful politicians share vocal qualities that influence how their audience responds to them – unrelated to the meaning of their words or ideas expressed.

He found that political speakers used different patterns of speech, depending on whom they were addressing. In monologues addressed to voters, speakers exerted great effort to offer a wide pitch range. But when addressing other leaders at conferences, the same speakers used a narrower pitch range and lower pitch.

The sound of a voice and how a message is delivered can be just as important than the content itself and that doesn’t just apply to politicians – it’s also true of radio and audio ads.

We help brands select the right voice to ensure campaigns are distinctive, create rapport and build relationships with the audience. During the casting process we carefully consider everything from the age, tone, accent and pitch of a voice right through to how it’s delivered, ensuring the advertising message will stand out and have high recall.

If you need a radio or audio ad produced, contact us and listen to our pitch!

Radio Experts can help brands navigate this complex array of opportunities and pin-point the perfect solutions Call us on 0203 588 3000 or visit our site to read more about our radio advertising

How do you listen to radio?

4 May

That’s the question asked by researchers compiling the latest Midas survey published by Rajar. Now, more than ever before, radio lives beyond the radio set and this research offers some additional insight into all radio and non-radio, audio listening.

Top line findings are:

  • Live radio accounts for 84% of all in-car listening compared to 12% for on-demand music services.
  • We spend nearly 26 hours each week with audio content.
  • Live radio accounts for 74% share of all audio consumption.
  • Catch up services account for 15% of weekly radio listening.
  • 38% of audio listening is on devices other than radio sets with PC/laptops accounting for 11% and smartphones 8%.

Listening on FM or AM is still the most popular way to listen to live radio at 47%, with DAB Radio next at 35%.

But what of the future? More personalised audio advertising? The two major radio groups Global and Bauer already offer listeners the opportunity to be served personalised advertisements on Capital Xtra and Absolute Radio. In addition, Bauer have just extended their service to the Kiss Network, Kerrang!, Heat Radio and Planet Rock.

There’s a whole range of options available to radio advertisers with an ever expanding variety of platforms.

Radio Experts can help brands navigate this complex array of opportunities and pin-point the perfect solutions. Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising. tim.cowland@radioexperts.co.uk. @timcradioexpert