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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

Happy New Financial Year

8 Apr

For many businesses, this week heralds the start of the new financial year. Even though prospects for both the UK and world economies remain uncertain, there’s no doubt that the business of commercial radio is in excellent health.

For the first time in 15 years, commercial radio now has more listeners than the BBC who are undoubtedly being affected by budget cuts. At the same time, the two biggest commercial radio groups have successfully built up national footprints through brand networks such as Capital and Heart (Global Radio) and Kiss and Magic (Bauer). They’ve also managed to retain a distinctive regional voice. In addition to these major operators, there are many smaller, successful ILR stations offering advertisers the opportunity to target local audiences.

There’s now even more choice for brands to promote themselves nationally, with new stations like talkRADIO, talkSPORT 2, Mellow Magic, Magic Chilled and Premier Praise, having launched last month.

Whether an advertiser wants to “go large” or “go local”, there’s now more choice than ever before.
More choice means more ways to target prospective customers. That also means brands need more insight to help navigate their way through the multitude of options for advertising on radio.

Providing that specialist knowledge and insight in an easily digestible form, is what Radio Experts is all about. With the start of the new financial year, this is the ideal time to start working on marketing plans… so let us help showcase your brands in the best way possible.

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

£43million spent on radio by travel sector

11 Mar

This week is English Tourism Week, the visitor economy is worth £106bn a year to England and the sector is the third largest employer supporting 2.6 million jobs.

Across the UK the Travel and Transport sector spent £43 million on radio in 2015 (source: Nielsen) – that’s a massive 24.9% increase year on year. It’s a sector that loves radio – whether it’s spot advertising, sponsorship or promotions, you’ll find transport and travel companies snapping up opportunities both locally and nationally as soon as they become available.

Radio is an amazingly powerful medium for travel clients. With the right approach to targeting, a well-written script, plus a massive range of sound effects, music and a variety of accented voices to choose from, we can use the magic of radio to transport the listener anywhere in the world.

Radio listeners’ favourite destinations often change. Right now, Egypt and Turkey are currently not seen as the safest places to visit whereas Italy and the United States are proving to be more popular destinations in 2016 (source: Travelzoo). Lonely Planet’s top suggestions for travel this year are Botswana, Kotor (Montenegro), Transylvania and… Manchester!

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

National radio stations to launch

26 Feb

The wait is over –  the second national digital multiplex (D2) will go live on Monday. Its launch will bring 18 national commercial stations to a new broadcast platform.

In total, there will be eight specialist music stations, three talk stations, three Asian stations, three Christian stations and one for kids.

The stations are:
talkRADIO (Presenters to include Paul Ross, Iain Lee and George Galloway)
talkSPORT2 (Launching 15th March at Cheltenham Festival)
Virgin Radio (DJ’s to include Edith Bowman)
Share Radio
Mellow Magic
Magic Chilled
Kisstory
Heat Radio
Sunrise Radio
Awesome Radio
UCB2
Premier Praise! (Launching on Easter Sunday)
Panjab Radio
Fun Kids
Jazz FM

The following stations already broadcast nationally and are moving to the D2 platform: Absolute 80s
Planet Rock
Premier Christian Radio

In addition, Heart Extra is also launching on the original, D1 platform.

Accurate audience data for these stations won’t be available until later in the year, but whilst some are in their infancy, there are likely to be some short term national opportunities available for spot advertising, sponsorship and promotions.

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

#nextsong

26 Nov

A lot is said about radio’s role within the increasingly complex world of media integration. But even when complex technologies are involved, sometimes it’s the old ideas that work best.

A brilliant example of this – is when we see radio stations using social media to do something they’ve pretty much always done…..tell listeners what the next songs are going to be.

 Simple isn’t it? It’s really just a technological step up from the station presenter simply mentioning which tracks are coming next…..

Radio stations across the UK don’t just have loyal listeners, they have loyal followers. And because audio is consumed alongside other media (not instead of other media), we belong to an industry that has cajoled, reinvented, finessed and migrated its contemporary media relevance very successfully.

Twitter is just another example of how radio has managed to stay tuned in to the old things that make it special – whilst also adopting the new things that fuel and direct our media consumption habits today. Good job!

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

Radio: Trends to watch

14 Nov

The dust has settled on the grand unveiling of the Q3 RAJAR results last month and after a period of reflection our Radio Experts have been analysing the data in more detail.
Whilst some in the media feel that it was a very uninspiring set of results, there are two particularly interesting trends we’ve spotted that are worth noting.

BBC vs Commercial Radio
Whilst the BBC continues its listening share dominance (53.6% vs 43.7%), commercial radio is now snapping at Auntie’s heels and reaches over 34 million adults every week – only 44,000 behind. This is the smallest gap since 2005 and follows the trend from the last four RAJAR waves.

Digital Listening
Radio listening via digital platforms continues to rise and is now at a record share of 37.8%. The UK has finally reached the level where the majority of new cars now have digital radio as standard. This coupled with a 45% year on year increase on the number of adults listening via a mobile or tablet at least once a month (now 1 in 5) means things are indeed looking rosy for DAB stations. There are already four commercial digital stations with audiences close to one million. Advertising on these stations can be particularly effective especially as digital radio listeners are 19% more likely to notice adverts on the radio.

In 2015, a second national digital multiplex begins broadcasting offering another ten national stations, increasing the DAB national footprint from 72 per cent of homes to 90 per cent.

With a wider choice of stations, overall radio listening should increase and this growth will help the commercial radio industry continue to compete even more effectively with the BBC, offering  an enhanced range of opportunities for advertisers.

To find out more about advertising effectively on analogue or digital commercial stations, get in touch now.

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

RAJAR Q3 – The Headlines

23 Oct

The RAJAR figures for quarter 3, 2014 are out, here’s some headline numbers and thoughts…

The London battleground remains as keenly fought as ever with Capital and Magic fighting for top spot. Capital London is no 1 in London for both reach and hours with increased average hours to 5.4 and share up to 5.3%

Magic 105.4 has pulled a rabbit out of the hat and seen its reach positively levitating to 1.96 million.

Possibly the biggest story is the near across-the-board thunderous performances of DAB Digital stations. With big increases for The Hits, Planet Rock, Jazz FM, Heat and the extraordinary Absolute 80s. In fact Absolute 80s now reaches 1.43 million weekly listeners. All this comes in the context of falling sales of DAB radio sets, so it will be interesting to see whether DAB stations can translate listener numbers into ad spend numbers.

Nationally, talkSport didn’t have as great a world cup as it was hoping for, a bit like England. Indeed, England’s early exit probably put talkSport’s figures on the defensive somewhat – a drop of 7% after last quarter’s gains – not what the physio ordered.

In Scotland, Heart and Smooth can both raise a wee dram as they see their reach go up by 14% compared to last quarter. In recent times both stations have seen some serious swings though, so the results are probably part uplift and part correction. Global’s investment ££££s in supporting those brands has obviously helped.

Over the water in Northern Ireland, the Q Network has had the luck of the Irish with reach up 21%. Whilst U105 is up 8% in reach and 15% in hours.

In Wales, local ILR stations have generally seen a downward trend in reach and hours but bucking the trend is Nation Hits – up 20% in reach and 51% in hours – they’ll be singing in the valleys over that one!

Regionally, one the highlights is XFM Manchester – it still has indie appeal and has increased its weekly reach by a very impressive 29%.

Locally, there’s a lot of love for the KM group in Kent. They’ve just seen their best figures ever with a total hours increase of 72% with KMFM East leading the charge – individually increasing total hours by 83%

It’s loud and clear that Signal 107 is doing the business in Wolverhampton with weekly reach up 92% from 24,000 to 46,000 listeners each week – a stunning performance. Staying in the Midlands, Free Radio Coventry and Warwickshire had a barnstormer which is good to see and probably slightly overdue.

All in all commercial radio is in tip top shape as its healthy appetite for combined reach continues to eat away at the BBC’s overall lead. BBC’s advantage is now just a teensy sliver of the pie chart with only 800,000 listeners more than commercial radio.

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