Ross Nester, Radio Manager, Manning Gottlieb OMD discusses a solid rather than spectacular set of RAJAR figures…
So here we are again with pages of new data telling us how Britain has been engaging with radio over the last three months and, as always, some stations are up, some are down. Let’s not forget however that radio still reaches 46.6 million people every week and commercial radio still has 33.1 million adult listeners so it’s worth paying attention to. It is still a big mass medium that forms a significant part of people’s lives.
Firstly the headline figures, overall commercial radio has delivered a basically flat set of results compared with the last quarter (down 0.1%) but this represents quite a big fall of 1.7% compared with last year. Furthermore we have seen a continued decline amongst 16-44 listening, down 3.7% YoY, whilst 45+ listening has increased a sign perhaps that the medium is growing up with the population as a whole.
Disappointingly for its advocates digital’s share of radio listening actually fell back slightly compared with the previous quarter. Overall reach of DAB actually increased to 29.2% but total listening hours fell. Surprisingly the total hours of online and app listening also fell, with only 11.3% of people claiming to listen via these methods.
Of the two largest groups it seems Bauer have had the better of the last quarter with Magic posting a 9.1% rise in reach YoY to rise back to number one in London. Kiss 100 also posted strong results moving from fourth to third in the London market with a strong 14.6% YoY growth. Bauer’s success has been to Global’s cost, both Capital and Heart have seen setbacks in London. While Capital still has the number one breakfast show, also the only London only breakfast show to reach more than 1million listeners, the overall fall in reach of Capital (down 8.3 YoY) and Heart (down 9.9% YoY) is disappointing. The other London bright spot for Global is the strong performance of LBC posting over 10% growth in reach YoY.
Outside of London the Heart Network performed reasonably well with East Midlands, Four Counties and Sussex all delivering reach increases above 10%, however the 17.7% fall in the competitive West Midlands market is a something to watch. Capital had an untidy set of numbers with YoY falls everywhere apart from Manchester, which was flat, and Yorkshire which posted strong 7% growth. Bauer’s Place Portfolio alsofell back slightly with Key in Manchester suffering especially.
Nationally this was a good result for Talksport who managed to get their total reach back up over 3million. Although Absolute saw a fall back from last quarter’s results, the Total Absolute Network (including all their decade stations) is still reaching 3.6% more listeners than last year. The former GMG stations, Real and Smooth, didn’t fair particularly well with Real losing 10.2% and Smooth losing 4.1 YoY. Kiss FM posted strong results, with a 5.1% increase which helped to drive Bauer’s passion portfolio to a 3% increase in reach. Outside of the big stations there was some good news for the specialist stations Jazz and Planet Rock who posted YoY reach increases of 22.8% and 2.9% respectively.
So there we have it, despite some issues Global is still by far the biggest radio owner reaching more than 19 million listeners every week and Bauer seem to be rising to this challenge admirably, especially in London. Given the multitude of events and competition for the nation’s time over this epic summer in our country’s history, I’d say that 33 million people still finding time for commercial radio is a pretty good result. Now to build on that success.