RAJAR figures for Q2 2013 are released next week (but does anyone really care?)

Now, I really wanted to start this blog with the headline… Radio goes Gaga for the Royal Baby but in all truth I couldn’t bring myself to write about the constant coverage of the birth (even if I am particularly proud of the headline). Instead I thought I’d take a look forward to next week’s RAJAR figures and also try to answer the question I sometimes get asked… RAJAR, does anyone really care?

To start, a quick bit of background… RAJAR, RAdio Joint Audience Research, has been measuring radio listening in the UK since 1992 and currently records data for around 310 individual Commercial and BBC radio stations. The research is carried out through the use of a weekly diary system, available in both physical and digital versions, with an annual sample of around 110,000 respondents aged 15+. This research provides us with all the listening figures, including the data which allows stations to measure their performance and commercial stations to sell their advertising space.

I don’t think there are many people in the radio industry, maybe the micro stations aside, who would say RAJAR is not needed. For the commercial stations it is the currency that they trade off and for the BBC stations it is the way they show their worth to the license-fee payers and government. But, whilst there is little doubt we need RAJAR the fanfare that used to greet its quarterly release seems to have died off somewhat in the last few years. It’s with fear of sounding like an old git when I say… “I remember when people used to gather around the bosses desk to hear how the radio station had performed” and “when Andy Carter, formerly of GCAP (now Global Radio), used to visit agencies to provide everyone with an industry overview RAJAR presentation”. These were times when people used to get excited about results day and even throw parties to celebrate. Where as for the last couple of years the figures seem to be welcomed with a celebratory coffee rather than a bottle of champagne – especially within the commercial radio sector anyway.

So, to answer the question – RAJAR, does anyone really care? Well; the presenters and DJ’s still care, the BBC cares and ultimately the commercial stations still care, because it defines how much money they will be receiving from their on-air advertising space and allows them to shout about how brilliant they are. But when you speak to the advertisers and agencies, it’s the people there that quite frankly don’t give a damn. Yes, an advertiser wants to know that there is a robust survey behind the station’s figures and they want to buy a campaign against those strong figures. But no, they’re not going to be so excited they can’t sleep next Wednesday evening as they wait for the latest data release. This could be because most figures remain relatively static quarter on quarter, or because other media metrics have less of a fanfare, or maybe because it feels like every single station is telling you they’re number one.

So, do I care about RAJAR? Yes I do, perhaps it’s because I’m a bit of a radio geek but I still look forward to the figures coming out; to seeing who’s up and who’s down, to seeing who’s number one overall and who’s found a random niche that they rule. So here’s a look forward to what could happen next week…
– Dave & Lisa on Capital London to retain their number one commercial radio breakfast show spot in London
– Digital Radio to increase in reach and share
– Absolute Radio Network to show improved results
– Magic and Capital to battle it out for the number one spot in London
– And, Planet Rock to break the 900,000 listener mark for the first time in 12 months.

So, are you looking forward to RAJAR?

Simon Pearce is the Client Insight Director at audio and radio advertising specialist RadioWorks

RAJAR Q1 13 – Full Report

Hi all

Here’s my full RAJAR summary report, originally prepared for RadioWorks as an independent and unbiased analysis of this quarter’s radio listening figures.

In a quarter which saw Radio 1 and Nick Grimshaw lose listeners, commercial radio had a great set of results, increasing weekly reach quarter on quarter and year on year.

RAJAR, the radio audience survey, shows that over 90% of people in the UK listen to the radio every week. Commercial radio reaches 33.5 million listeners and achieves a listener share of 41.9% versus the BBC’s 55.7%. On a local level, commercial radio completely dominates the BBC, delivering 26.5 million listeners compared to the BBC’s 9.5 million for local and regional services. Digital listening now equates to a 34.3% share of all listening hours.

LONDON LISTENING: In the London marketplace the big news is that Capital London has become the largest reaching commercial radio station with 1.95 million weekly listeners.  Although they’ve seen a drop in reach to 1.86 million, Magic 105.4 has retained its number one position in terms of share of listening with 5.6% thanks to strong listening hours compared to their London rivals. Heart London has delivered improved reach on last quarter to reach 1.75 million weekly listeners meaning they’re ahead of Kiss 100, who slipped down to fourth position after delivering 1.6 million listeners – almost 200,000 less than the previous quarter. LBC 97.3 saw an increase in their figures to deliver 931,000 weekly listeners and there were also positive results across other London stations including Sunrise Radio, up a massive 53% to reach 348,000, Gold London (363,000) and XFM (574,000). Note: It is possible to measure Classic FM by its London only transmitter, which delivers 1,362,000.

LONDON BREAKFAST: The much talked about ‘battle of the breakfast shows’ has again been won by Capital London, with 1,067,000 listeners tuning in to their show from 6-10am. Dave Berry and Lisa Snowdon will no doubt be very happy that they continue as ‘King and Queen’ of the breakfast airwaves, even beating Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw, whose figures were down considerably. The news that Global Radio will be celebrating most is likely to be the strong performance of Heart London’s breakfast show (6-9am) which saw a jump of 125,000 listeners to 768,000 since Emma Bunton joined Jamie Theakston. Rickie, Melvin & Charlie on Kiss 100 (6-9am) saw their audience significantly drop off this quarter to deliver 651,000, meaning they were beaten into third place by Neil Fox on Magic 105.4 (5-9am) who reaches 765,000 listeners every week. Meanwhile, the multi-Sony Award winning Christian O’Connell has again shown audience growth on his breakfast show across the Absolute Radio Network, and in London, the show delivered a reach of 636,000 listeners.

NORTH WEST REGION: In the North West the largest reaching station by far is Smooth Radio, delivering 783,000 listeners. When looking at the reach percentage figures, it is the Isle of Man’s Manx Radio (53%), Carlisle’s C.F.M (37%) and The Bay in Morecombe which all stand out as performing well, whilst the best quarter on quarter improvement in the region is seen at Cheshire’s Silk 106.9, who posted a 16.7% increase to reach 21,000 weekly listeners. 

NATIONAL STATIONS: Classic FM remains the most-listened-to (single) commercial radio station in the UK. The station has gone above the 5.5 million listener mark for the first time since Q2 2011 and delivers average hours of 7.1, the highest since 2010. Keeping a focus on the national analogue stations: talkSPORT held on to second place, reaching 2.9 million weekly listeners. While Absolute Radio (National + London) delivered 1,687,000. Note: Kiss UK, who broadcast across the UK via online, digital TV, DAB,  plus three regional FM licenses, have achieved 4.1 million listeners; Smooth Radio, who also broadcast nationally on DAB and have several regional licences, (with local content in Scotland), have delivered figures of 3.1 million weekly adult listeners.

NETWORK STATIONS: The network radio stations, which have become a feature of the UK radio industry over the past couple of years, have again delivered some big numbers this quarter. The largest commercial radio network in the country is Global’s Heart Network, which delivers 7.2 million listeners, closely followed by the Capital Network on 6.9 million listeners. Kiss UK has delivered 4.1 million, Magic UK 3.4 million, Smooth Radio UK 3.1 million, and Real Radio UK 2.1 million.

Note: As the UK radio marketplace changes there is some convergence between national and network stations. Whilst the lines are becoming blurred, RadioWorks define network stations as those which have locally produced content, whilst national stations have the same output right across the country and are also available on a mainstream national transmitter (Analogue Radio or Digital Radio).

DIGITAL RADIO (including mobile): Digital radio listening has benefited from a 14% year on year increase and now accounts for a 34.3% share of all radio listening, with 49.6% of people listening to digital radio either through DAB, DTV, the internet or ‘other’. The latest RAJAR figures recorded that 23 million adults (44%) claim to live in a household which has a DAB receiver. The number one commercial, digital only radio station in the UK is now Absolute 80s, with almost one million listeners (984,000). Smash Hits have been pushed in to second place with a weekly reach of 942,000, sitting above Bauer’s recent acquisition, Planet Rock, which added listeners to deliver 896,000. Bauer radio has also taken the fourth spot in terms of digital commercial radio as The Hits reached 877,000 listeners. Smooth 70s increased their listening hours this quarter to deliver an average of 7.4 hours per listener, however, their reach figures dropped off to 681,000, whilst Jazz FM maintained their strong figures from last quarter to deliver 604,000 weekly listeners.

GROUP PERFORMANCE: The UK’s largest commercial radio group is Global Radio (delivering a total of 19.33 million listeners), thanks in part to the strength of its three core brands: Classic FM, Heart and Capital. Bauer Radio recently added to their Passion Portfolio with the purchase of Planet Rock, which helped them record strong performance figures and as a group (including the Place Portfolio) they recorded a total reach of 13.7 million adults. There appears to be continuing uncertainty at Real and Smooth Ltd. (formerly GMG Radio) since their purchase by Global Radio and that has been reflected in the figures, with the group reach down to 5.57 million from 5.85 million weekly reach; whilst UTV Radio, owners of talkSPORT, reaches 4.2 million listeners.  Absolute Radio and its network of decade-based stations have maintained their strong overall figures from last quarter, delivering 3.3 million weekly adult listeners. It is also worth noting that when Global’s acquisition of Real and Smooth Ltd is finalised, the group could be posting figures in the region of 25 million listeners.

 

Simon Pearce is the Client Insight Director at audio and radio advertising specialist RadioWorks

 

Everything Changes But You (Radio)

I’ve been off for a while but it’s given me some time to muse on Radio and how it’s stood the test of time. Hope you find this useful or interesting or… an appropriate way to get you away from the day to day grind!

Everything Changes But You (Radio)

As a radio specialist (OK then, geek) one of the things I do is listen to a load of different radio stations.

Earlier this week I tuned into the digital radio station (and brand extension of their magazine) Heat Radio. Heat is a national station, available across DAB radio, online, apps and on digital TV. While I was listening, they were playing a lot of old school pop. One of the songs to hit my ears and filter into my subconscious was Take That’s “Everything Changes But You”. That ‘90s hit has been going round and round in my head ever since! Embarrassing? Yes. Even more so was when I got caught singing it to myself whilst at football training!

While that damn song is still stuck in my head, it has got me thinking… radio is a bit like those lyrics,

“Everything changes but you…”  Commercial radio has been around for 40 years this year and it’s amazing to think about how much has changed since then: phones, TVs, computers and house values have undergone dramatic changes – but the essence of radio has largely stayed the same. Yes, technology has meant you can now listen in via a mobile phone rather than a gramophone, but radio’s strengths remain; listening figures are high, people continue to interact with it and radio is still a friend.

“We’re a thousand miles apart / But you know I love you…”  Love is a strong word, but the truth is, people feel strongly about their radio stations. On average, UK listeners tune in to only three different stations and some even put station stickers in the back of their cars! Recent research by the RAB (Radio: The Emotional Multiplier)  to this showed how radio can improve our mood, so perhaps it’s little wonder people like to listen.

The internet has helped radio in a number of ways and apps like RadioPlayer and TuneIn Radio, which aggregates radio stations from across the globe, can bring listeners closer to the stations they love. I work with a Kiwi and even though she’s more than a thousand miles apart from her favourite radio station, she’s constantly sitting there with her headphones on chuckling along to New Zealand radio station, George FM, I hope George knows she loves them.

“You know every single day / I’ll be thinking about you…” The average time spent listening to radio in the UK is a whopping 22 hours per week! It does in fact seem that every single day 9 in 10 of us are thinking about radio. And it’s not just those who remember Take That who are listening in, 86% of 18-34s also listen to the radio each week (figures from RAJAR Q4 12).

So perhaps Robbie, Gary and the boys were singing about radio after all? Unlike Take That, radio is a medium that has stood the test of time, despite what people may have predicted in the past. Radio is still a companion which has the power to uplift and entertain – much like your favourite 90s hits can. Now to get that damn song out of my head. I know, The Proclaimers…

Simon Pearce is the Client Insight Director at audio and radio advertising specialist RadioWorks

Go Compare My Radio

So, this week I’ve had the joy of renewing my car insurance for the year. I received my renewal documents in the post and found that they wanted to put my insurance up even though I’ve had no crashes or claims. Of course I went along to the many comparison websites to see if I could get a better deal and sure enough I managed to save myself quite a few quid. Being on these sites reminded me of a website that the techy team over at The OGS Labs (Absolute Radio) developed a while back called Compare My Radio.

Compare My Radio, compares radio stations’ music output and allows users to find out where they are most likely to hear their favourite artists, or how to avoid those really annoying songs. By clicking on my local station, Eagle FM, I can see that over the last 30 days the most played artists are Olly Murs and Bruno Mars, with ‘Stay’ by Rihanna being the most played song. I can also search by artist, so if I really wanted to listen to some Ben Howard I can see that XFM Manchester and XFM London play his tracks the most. The same can also be done for specific tracks. For me, things get really interesting when you start comparing radio stations. Recently Bauer radio bought digital only station Planet Rock and at the time there were a few discussions about its cross-over with their current station Kerrang!. The below chart, taken from Compare My Radio, shows that actually there is very little cross-over between the stations…

Planet Rock v Kerrang

In fact, in the last 30 days, the top ten songs that each station played have been completely different…

Planet Rock v Kerrang 2

There was also talk of potential cross-over between Planet Rock and Q, but a quick search shows that there are only 209 shared tracks between the stations – less than there currently are between Q and Kerrang (348 shared tracks). With this in mind it stands to reason that Planet Rock will sit alongside Q and Kerrang in Bauer’s stable of rock-focused digital stations.

So, the moral to this story is two-fold: Never just renew your car insurance without searching around first and if you want to find out about a radio station’s current playlist before you buy it (or listen to it) you can by going to CompareMyRadio.com

Simon Pearce is the Client Insight Director at audio and radio advertising specialist RadioWorks

New Year, New Voices on my Radio

It’s the start of a new year and while listening to the radio in London I’ve heard a whole raft of new voices, so I thought I’d give you a quick run-down of a few of them…

Emma Bunton is ‘spicing up’ (please forgive me for that) the Heart London breakfast show alongside Jamie Theakston and after listening in on a few occasions I can report that she is fitting in really well. It’s clear that Emma and Jamie have known each other for a while and there’s good chemistry there. Importantly, Emma doesn’t sound like a pop star who is giving radio a go – unsurprising really as she already has a couple of years of experience from her weekend show. Personally I think getting Emma on board is a great thing for Commercial Radio; she’s a massive name in the world of entertainment and I’m sure advertisers will be clambering to get involved.

XFM have parted company with Danny Wallace and handed the reins of their breakfast show over to Jon Holmes. His name may not be that familiar to some of you, but when I mention he has eight Sony-Awards, two BAFTA’s and three British Comedy awards to his name – as well as co-writing credits on Horrible Histories and Dead Ringers – you’ll probably agree he’s worth trying out. Add in to the mix that he’s also been sacked a couple of times in his career for taking things too far, and it could make for an interesting listening experience!

Also over at XFM, comedian Josh Widdicombe (off TV shows like Mock the Week and 8 out of 10 Cats) started this Saturday 19th January and is on air from 10am-1pm.

If you’ve not heard already, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is bravely/stupidly (delete as appropriate) facing questions from the public on LBC every Thursday morning from 9-9.30am. In The Guardian last week (Thursday 17th January) Steve Bell summed it up like this…

Steve Bell's If ... 17.01.2013

(If you’d like to read more about Clegg on LBC see the RadioWorks news stories)

And finally, a reminder that the next radio listening data results (RAJAR) are being released on Thursday 31st January. RadioWorks will be giving you a full update on the radio marketplace along with any trends or changes that you need to be aware of.

Simon

Simon Pearce is Head of Insight at radio advertising specialists RadioWorks and Maple Street Studios

RAJAR Q2 2012 – Headlines and Comment

A few headlines from this quarter’s RAJAR results…

  • 46% of the population listen to Digital Radio every week
  • Capital hold on to the number one spot in London, with their breakfast show also finishing on top
  • Bauer take the top two digital only commercial station spots in terms of reach with Smash Hits and The Hits

And here is some comment…

The Digital Radio community are going to be very pleased with these RAJAR results as listening hours are up, now accounting for 31.5% of all hours listened. The listening reach is also up – 46% of adults listen every week. Digital only stations Planet Rock and Jazz FM both deserve a mention after posting reach increases and strong listening hours from Planet Rock see them crowned ‘the UKs most listened to commercial digital only station’. Whilst we’re talking about Digital, Absolute deserve a pat on the back as a massive 71% of the Absolute Radio Network listening is via a digital platform.

Overall growth for the Absolute Radio Network should be something the recently rebranded Free Radio stations can take heart from. Although it has been a difficult first quarter for the Free Radio stations they can look to the experience of Absolute who, after rebranding from Virgin Radio, took a while to rebuild their reach. So far the listener and advertiser feedback on Free Radio has been positive so now could be a good time for clients to explore the possibilities offered by these stations.

(Source: RAJAR Q2 2012)

Simon Pearce is Head of Insight at radio advertising specialists RadioWorks and Maple Street Studios

RAJAR Q2 2012

Hi All,

Here’s my full RAJAR update for Quarter 1 2012 – if this is a little too much, check out my comments which I will be posting shortly.

Enjoy…

It’s been another good quarter for digital listening! This quarter saw an increase, with 326 million listening hours, and 46% of the population tuning in to the radio via any digital platform up from 45% last quarter.

RAJAR, the radio audience survey, shows that 89% of people in the UK listen to the radio every week. Commercial radio reaches over 33 million listeners and achieves an increased listener share of 43.3% versus the BBC’s 54.3%. On a local level commercial radio completely dominates the BBC, delivering 26.3 million listeners compared to the BBC’s 8.9 million for local and regional services.

LONDON LISTENING: In the London marketplace Capital London has held on to the number one spot in terms of reach; despite a drop in listener numbers they still deliver a reach of 2,072,000 adult listeners.  However, in terms of listening share it is Heart London which has shown strong quarter on quarter growth to take the top position with 5.3%.  Going back to the reach table, Magic 105.4 have maintained their reach from the previous quarter delivering 1,951,000, and Heart London (1,798,000) has held off Kiss 100 (1,740,000) to take third position. A 22.2% quarter on quarter growth to 974,000 from Total Absolute Radio (London) has seen them take fifth position in terms of reach with LBC (809,000) dropping to sixth. Note: It is possible to measure Classic FM by its London only transmitter, which delivers 1,269,000.

LONDON BREAKFAST: The much talked about ‘battle of the breakfast shows’ has again been won by Capital Radio London, with 1,156,000 listeners to their show from 6-10am. This is the second set of results for Capital Radio since a change to the line-up saw Dave Berry replace Johnny Vaughan as Lisa Snowdon’s co-host on the breakfast show, and although their reach has dropped slightly, they will no doubt be happy to retain the number one spot.  Neil Fox’s Magic Breakfast Show (5-9am) has retained second place with 760,000 listeners, whilst Kiss Breakfast with Rickie, Melvin & Charlie (6-9am) have managed to achieve third position with 735,000 weekly listeners – beating Jamie and Harriet on Heart London (6-9am) who achieved 734,000 listeners.

NEW STATIONS: This is the first RAJAR for a number of rebranded stations, with the biggest change being the Orion Media owned, Midlands based, Free Radio stations. Previously reporting as BRMB, Mercia, Wyvern and Beacon, the stations are now part of the Free Radio Network. We often see poor results when stations first rebrand, with listeners getting used to the new name and station and Free Radio has proved no different, dropping from a combined reach of 801,000 to 708,000. Exeter FM also dropped slightly in reach after their rebrand to Radio Exe,but going from 28,000 to 25,000 won’t phase them too much. Eagle Extra, previously County Sound, appears to have bucked the trend, increasing their weekly reach from 6,000 to 13,000. As have Heart Cornwall – previously 105-107 Atlantic FM – who joined the massive Heart Network and increased their weekly reach from 66,000 to 68,000.

REGIONAL REVIEW: Briefly looking around the regions; Isle of Wight Radio, recent winner of the Arqiva Station of the Year (for under 300,000 TSA), have posted strong weekly reach figures of 36,000 listeners, 30% of the available population. In Harrogate (North Yorkshire), Stray FM has seen positive quarter on quarter growth, delivering 47,000 listeners (33%) up 3,000 listeners on the previous results. And, if you’re heading down to Weymouth to see the Olympic Sailing, why not tune in to Wessex FM who have posted a weekly reach of 40% (47,000 weekly listeners).

NATIONAL STATIONS: Classic FM remains the most listened to (single) commercial radio station in the UK. The station has maintained its reach of 5.4 million adults with listeners tuning in for an average of 6.4 hours. Keeping a focus on the national analogue stations – talkSPORT held on to second place despite not being able to continue their record reach of previous quarters, achieving 2.9 million weekly listeners. While Absolute Radio (National + London) managed improved results, up 9.4% quarter on quarter to 1,763,000. Note: Kiss UK, who broadcast across the UK via online, digital TV and on a number of DAB transmitters plus three regional FM licenses have achieved 4.3 million listeners, while Smooth Radio, who also broadcast nationally on DAB and have several regional licences (with local content in Scotland), has delivered figures of 3.2 million weekly adult listeners.

NETWORK STATIONS: The network radio stations which have become a feature of the UK radio industry over the past couple of years have again delivered some big numbers this quarter. The largest commercial radio network in the country is Global’s Heart Network which delivers almost 7.4 million listeners, closely followed by the Capital Network on just under 7 million listeners. Kiss UK has delivered 4.3 million, Magic UK 3.7 million, Smooth Radio UK 3.2 million, and Real Radio UK 2.4 million.

Note: As the UK radio marketplace changes there is some convergence between national and network stations. Whilst the lines are becoming blurred, RadioWorks define network stations as those which have locally produced content, whilst national stations have the same output right across the country and are also available on a mainstream national transmitter (Analogue Radio or Digital Radio).

DIGITAL RADIO: Digital listening has grown to account for a 31.5% share of all radio listening, with 46% of people now listening to digital radio, either through DAB, DTV, the internet or ‘other’. The latest RAJAR figures recorded that 21.8 million adults (41.7%) claim to live in a household which has a DAB receiver. The number one commercial, digital only radio station in the UK is now Smash Hits Radio, with over one million listeners (1,011,000). Also owned by Bauer, The Hits has dropped to second place with 973,000. Planet Rock increased their reach again by 10.1% quarter on quarter to take third position with a reach figure of 948,000. Absolute Radio 80s delivered 864,000 listeners to achieve fourth place with Heat Radio delivering 713,000.

GROUP PERFORMANCE: The UK’s largest commercial radio group is Global Radio (delivering a total of 19.3 million listeners), thanks in part to the strength of its three core brands Classic FM, Heart and Capital. Bauer Radio with their Place and Passion Portfolios is the second largest commercial group, with a total reach of 13.3 million adults. GMG Radio, who are now a part of Global Radio (subject to confirmation from the competitions commission)has delivered a 5.5 million weekly reach, whilst UTV Radio, owners of talkSPORT, reaches 4.3 million listeners.

TARGETED STATIONS: Premier Christian Radio, broadcasting in London on analogue and across the UK via digital (online and DAB) have improved their quarter on quarter reach and now deliver 172,000 listeners every week. There has also been quarter on quarter increases for Sunrise Radio (London) who reach 286,000 weekly listeners.

MOBILE LISTENING: RAJAR shows that 18% of adults and 35% of 15-24’s now claim to listen to radio on their mobile phone. Nearly all the UK’s radio stations are providing smartphone apps to enhance the mobile listening experience, and providing advertisers with an additional point of contact. A recent RAB / Other Lines Of Enquiries study into mobile radio listening showed 32% of 16-34 year olds have listened to radio via mobile (at some stage), and 20% listen at least once a week.

That’s it from me for now. If you have any questions on RAJAR, or if you would like any further information, please feel free to contact your RadioWorks representative or alternatively email meSimon@RadioWorks.co.uk

SOURCE: RAJAR Q2 2012

Simon Pearce is Head of Insight at radio advertising specialists RadioWorks and Maple Street Studios