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

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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

 

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

Radio Stations and Social Media

Here’s my first attempt at an Infographic… check it out…

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