How the UK is consuming Audio Content

One of the things I’m currently involved in is the Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) recently formed Audio Council. The council’s aim is to educate the market about the possibilities offered by advertising in an online audio environment through education, developing business models, and increasing value. The council consists of key players throughout the audio and radio sector including research company Audiencenet, who have just published the results of a survey which looks at audio consumption.

With a 3000-strong sample size, the research – called Audiometrics – has delivered some interesting results, the highlights of which I have compiled below, comparing them to the RAJAR stats where possible:

The Results: See the infographic for more

Infographic

In an average week the Audiometrics research shows that 90% of people listen to audio content. Interestingly this figure matches the figure for weekly radio listening, which RAJAR Q1 13 (a survey of more than 100,000) delivers. Additionally the research shows 48% listen to audio or radio online and although this figure is very close to RAJAR’s 49.6% for All Digital listening (including DAB, DTV and online), it is significantly larger than the split of just 13% for people who say they listen online/via apps.

The significant difference between these two stats is likely to be down to the nature of the question – Audiometrics are measuring all audio, whereas RAJAR only measures radio listening. This suggests that the additional online listening could be to non-radio related audio such as streaming music.

Interestingly this section of the Audiometrics study also showed that 6% of people are listening to podcasts on a weekly basis and a further 4% listen to audiobooks. These figures are higher than I would have expected to see and it will be interesting to see how these figures perform in subsequent studies.

Audiometrics also looked in to the devices that people use to listen to audio in an average week. Against All adults the results showed that a radio receiver was the most popular, with 56% of people listening to audio this way, followed by a computer/laptop on 34%, via DTV on 31% and smartphones on 25%.

Hi-fi stereos appear to be becoming a thing of the past, as they dropped right down the scale with only 23% of people listening to audio this way. Probably not that surprisingly, the figures are very different against 15-24’s with 53% saying they listen via a computer/laptop every week and 51% through a mobile/smartphone.

The study has also shown that the majority of audio listening in an average week takes place in the home (77%) followed by on public transport/in a vehicle (51%). Again, when we compare these figures to RAJAR there are some similarities. RAJAR shows 76% of people listen to radio in the home and 59% of people listen to radio in the car every week.

And finally, when Audiometrics asked what people’s single preferred device for listening to audio was, the results were again split between ages. Across All Adults radio at 35%, was favoured but against teenagers it is the smartphone at 36%, or MP3 player 35% (with radio only delivering 3% to this group).

As part of the IAB’s Audio Council project, Audiencenet are extending their Audiometrics study to include attitudes towards online audio advertising.

Watch this space for an update on those results and if you have any questions in the meantime in regards to online audio, then please feel free to get in touch.

*Based on research from Audiencenet on the UK’s weekly Audio Consumption in Q2, 2013 (sample: 3,112) & RAJAR Q1 2013

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

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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

My comment on the latest radio listening figures – RAJAR Q4 2012

This quarter’s RAJAR results have been a mixed bag as we see losses on some stations, but big gains on others. In London the top five stations all dropped down quarter on quarter, whilst Choice FM, Smooth and XFM all showed really positive increases. In particular, XFM increased their reach almost 20% to deliver 445,000 weekly adults – and with a whole host of new names, including Jon Holmes taking over the Breakfast Show, there is a real positive buzz around the station.

After flat figures last time around, digital radio listening has fared better this quarter, with 33% of all radio listening now via a digital platform. These figures have been helped by strong performances from a number of stations on digital radio including Jazz FM, who delivered their highest ever hours of 3 million. The BBC’s digital only station, 6 Music, added 1.9 million to the digital listening figures. Bauer’s Heat Radio also helped, by increasing their reach 18% year on year to 767,000, whilst the Absolute Radio and Smooth Radio networks delivered 76% and 45% (respectively) of all their listening via digital platforms.

And I have to say a big well done to Absolute Radio who have improved results across both their main station and the network as a whole, helping them achieve an impressive 11-year high of 3.3 million listeners. It’s not easy to pin down the exact reason for the improvement from a programming point of view but listening figures for the Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show have massively improved, whilst their decade stations Absolute Radio 80s, 90s and 00s have also shown year on year improvements. With a potential sale on the horizon, these figures could well increase Absolute’s value.

Here’s a final thought for you: Global Radio’s purchase of Real and Smooth Ltd looks all set to go through later on in the year. When it does, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Real Radio stations rebranded into the Heart network. If that were to happen we could be looking at a reach of almost 10 million weekly listeners!

If you’d like to read my full report on this quarter’s RAJAR it’s available here on the RadioWorks website. And I even got a little bit in MediaWeek / Brand Republic.

Thanks for reading

Simon

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

RAJAR Q3 2012 – Headlines and Comment

A few headlines from this quarter’s RAJAR results…

  • Magic 105.4 take number one spot in London, recording both the highest reach and the best audience share
  • New digital only station Smooth 70s performs well in its first set of results
  • Capital is the number one breakfast show in London, delivering higher reach than Chris Moyles in his final figures

And here is some comment…

The headlines this RAJAR are no doubt going to  Bauer Radio and Magic 105.4 in particular – and rightly so. Magic 105.4 in London have regained the number one spot in terms of reach, going above 2 million weekly listeners, and a huge increase in listening hours has seen them deliver an impressive market share of 7.3%. Given that this RAJAR period covered the Queen’s Jubilee and Olympics Games, could it be that people were tuning in to the station with its “more music, less talk” policy, to escape the hype?

The National Commercial radio breakfast shows also deserve a mention, after posting some strong figures. Simon Bates’ move from Classic FM to Smooth Radio UK (including Smooth 70s) has helped them post a strong audience, whilst John Suchet who took over the Classic FM morning show has maintained their figures. As they would say, “a big shout out goes to Rickie, Melvin and Charlie on Kiss” as they also posted some strong figures, showing that their show is just as popular outside of London as in it. (Unfortunately the shows are all at different times so it’s unfair to make a direct comparison but if you’d like the figures please do get in touch).

In regards to digital radio, this quarter has seen positive figures for commercial radio, with a record share of 30.7% of listening being via a digital platform – but overall there has been little change. New station Smooth 70s had a great first RAJAR and Jazz FM helped commercial radio’s figures with their highest ever reach (624,000), while Planet Rock retained their high listening hours to be named the ‘most listened to digital commercial station’.

And here is a final thought for you. Global Radio’s purchase of Real and Smooth Ltd looks all set to go through. If / when it does, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Real Radio stations rebranded into the Heart network – if that were to happen we could be looking at a reach of almost 10 million weekly listeners!

(Source: RAJAR Q3 2012)

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

RAJAR Q3 2012 Review

Hi All,

Here’s my full RAJAR update for Quarter 3 2012 – if this is a little too much, check out my comments which I will be posting shortly.

Enjoy…

Magic 105.4 becomes the most listened to commercial radio station in London, whilst digital listening figures remain static.

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 a listener share of 43.3% versus the BBC’s 54.2%. On a local level, commercial radio completely dominates the BBC, delivering 26.4 million listeners compared to the BBC’s 8.9 million for local and regional services.

LONDON LISTENING: In the London marketplace the big news is that Magic 105.4 has taken over the number one spot in terms of reach, delivering over 2.1 million weekly listeners. Magic have also delivered in terms of listening share, showing strong quarter on quarter growth to take the top position with a massive 7.3%.  Going back to the reach table, Capital London have dropped to second position after a poor set of results, delivering 1,999,000.  A 12.2% quarter on quarter growth to 1,952,000 from Kiss 100 has helped them jump above Heart London (1,826,000), with LBC (927,000) also up 14% quarter on quarter taking fifth place, whilst poor results for Absolute Radio in London (832,000) saw them drop to sixth. Note: It is possible to measure Classic FM by its London only transmitter, which delivers 1,287,000.

LONDON BREAKFAST: The much talked about ‘battle of the breakfast shows’ has again been won by Capital Radio London, with 1,165,000 listeners to their show from 6-10am. This is the third 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 they will no doubt be proud of their continued reign at the top. Neil Fox’s Magic Breakfast Show (5-9am) has retained second place with improved figures up to 822,000 listeners, whilst Kiss Breakfast with Rickie, Melvin & Charlie (6-9am) have achieved third position with 717,000 weekly listeners – again beating Jamie and Harriet on Heart London (6-9am) who delivered 611,000 listeners.

NEW STATIONS: This is the first RAJAR for one new station and also a number of rebranded stations. Following the lead of Absolute Radio, decade-based stations are in vogue at present, with all the new stations carrying this theme. Smooth 70s, the National digital radio station owned by Real and Smooth Ltd, has delivered 749,000 listeners in its first set of results. Whilst Orion Media has taken the step of rebranding their Midlands-based Gold stations to Free Radio 80s. Previously reporting as Gold Birmingham & Black Country; Coventry & Warwickshire; Shropshire and West Midlands, the stations are now part of the Free Radio 80s Network. Whilst some stations struggle when they go through a rebrand, the Free Radio 80s stations have all had positive results. Covering Swansea and Port Talbot, 102.1 Bay Radio has also become an 80s station – extending the brand of its sister station Nation Radio to become Nation 80s – delivering a reach of 39,000, only slightly down on their previous reach of 40,000.

REGIONAL REVIEW: Briefly looking around the regions; in Norfolk, Norwich 99.9 FM have posted weekly reach figures of 54,000 listeners – 16% of the available population (slightly down from 57,000). In Doncaster (South Yorkshire), Trax FM has seen positive quarter on quarter growth, delivering 98,000 listeners (27%), up from 96,000 listeners (26%) previously, and in South West Wales Radio Pembrokeshire have posted a massive weekly reach of 50% (48,000 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 6.5 hours. Keeping a focus on the national analogue stations: talkSPORT held on to second place recording a reach of 3 million weekly listeners. While Absolute Radio (National + London) delivered results down 12.4% quarter on quarter to 1,544,000. 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 3.19 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 7.3 million listeners, closely followed by the Capital Network on 6.8 million listeners. Kiss UK has delivered 4.3 million, Magic UK 3.8 million, Smooth Radio UK 3.2 million, and Real Radio UK 2.3 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 remained static dropping down slightly to account for a 31.3% share of all radio listening, with 45.6% of people now listening to digital radio, either through DAB, DTV, the internet or ‘other’. The latest RAJAR figures recorded that 22 million adults (42%) claim to live in a household which has a DAB receiver. The number one commercial, digital only radio station in the UK remains Smash Hits Radio, with almost one million listeners (970,000). Absolute  80s have jumped up to second place with 895,000 weekly reach, going above The Hits which has dropped down to 893,000. Planet Rock also dropped off slightly reaching 864,000 listeners whilst in their first RAJAR Smooth 70s delivered impressive results of 749,000.

GROUP PERFORMANCE: The UK’s largest commercial radio group is Global Radio (delivering a total of 19.2 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. Real and Smooth Ltd. (previously GMG Radio), who are now a part of Global Radio (subject to confirmation from the Competitions Commission) has delivered a 5.8 million weekly reach, whilst UTV Radio, owners of talkSPORT, reaches 4.2 million listeners.  Absolute Radio, and its network of decade-based stations, have dropped off slightly after their record listening figures of the previous quarter, and now deliver 2.9 million weekly reach figures. It is also worth noting that when Global’s purchase of Real and Smooth Ltd goes through, the group could be posting figures in the region of up to 25 million listeners.

TARGETED STATIONS: Premier Christian Radio, broadcasting in London on analogue and across the UK via digital (online and DAB) have dropped off slightly on last quarter’s reach, now delivering 164,000 listeners every week. There has also been a slight drop quarter on quarter for Sunrise Radio (London) who reach 282,000 weekly listeners.

MOBILE LISTENING: RAJAR shows that 18% of adults and 34% of 15-24’s now claim to listen to radio on their mobile phone, and nearly all the UK’s radio stations are providing smartphone apps to enhance the mobile listening experience. The UK’s online radio consolidation platform, RadioPlayer, has also released an iPhone app, with versions for other formats to follow. .

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 email me Simon@RadioWorks.co.uk

SOURCE: RAJAR Q3 2012

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