Will Wi-Fi on The Tube affect radio listening…..duh!

11 Nov

London, the tube. A miracle of engineering, great for transport but terrible for radio.

Why? Because you can’t get a radio signal underground.

At least you couldn’t get a signal until now.

Experiments with piping wi-fi through the tube platforms and tunnels are being tested and we can expect roll out over the next couple of years in the run up to the 2012 Olympic games.

Big news for radio hours in London.

The uptake of station player apps and listen live mobile devices has been huge in London, I see people doing it every day (they do wonder why I’m looking over their shoulders!) Here’s a snap of someone I saw this morning listening to TalkSport on his iPhone.

talksport listener

So with wifi pumped through the tunnels, online listening becomes easy.

So let’s look at the maths for London’s radio consumption here, back of envelope stuff…….

Approximately 2.7 million round trip tube journeys a day amounting to around 3.1million traveller hours. 55% of the tube network is tunnels or approaching tunnels, so at least 1.7 million radio listener hours a day are up for grabs. Assume no more than 20% of tube passengers listening to radio this way (and that’s a really conservative estimate believe me – ever noticed how many people listen to iPods on the tube?), we’re looking at 340,000 extra listening hours a day, 2.4 million hours per week.

London’s weekly total radio reach is around 16 million, so 2.4 million more hours increases the pie by a tasty 15%.

Final piece of the jigsaw for me is behavioural / modal. With the radio adverts I write, I know when I’m talking to people in cars and I know when I’m talking to people at home and at work. Now I’ll know when I’m putting advertisers in front of listeners who are on the tube, on their way in to work or coming home from work.  Coffee ads in the morning, takeaway ads in the evening etc…..!

I love the way radio advertising is all becoming more and more targeted. It makes campaigns more focussed and results more exciting.

15% more listenership hours in London with wifi on the tube. Yes please!

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist  radio advertising agency. tim.cowland@radioexperts.co.uk

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