Friday, 4 February 2011

RAJAR Qtr 4 2010; "The numbers are in..."

So it was listening figures time again in the UK this week... and what did we learn?

Well, there are some nice headlines about 90% of the population listening to the radio every week and of course every group or station puts a shine on their particular figures, so no-one seems to be real loser (although of course they can’t all be right!)

A few things caught my eye.

First, I was disappointed at the rate of growth for Digital Listening with a rather modest 0.2% rise in the quarter to a 25% share of all listening via platform. As part of that, DAB was up 0.5% quarter on quarter, and still remains the most popular way of consuming digital radio (15.8% share), but I can’t help feeling that the momentum has slowed a little, and being a firm believer in the importance of radio to ‘go digital’ in future, it’s frustrating to see such slow progress.

What’s the answer? Well... more unique content and stations on DAB would help. It was encouraging to see the continued growth of stations like Absolute 80s (up to 665,000 weekly reach), Absolute 90s (cuming 295,000) and even the recently refreshed Planet Rock (with a new high of 827,000) doing so well. It shows that when there is great content or a different offer on Digital, listeners will gravitate towards it. Niche formats on digital seem to be the way forward. Just make sure your niche is big enough!

Talk radio is proving more and more popular in the UK with the growth of TalkSport as a format (now reaches over 3 Million a week), BBC 5Live gaining record audiences (now over 7 million), and 97.3 LBC in London (almost reaching 1 million a week), radio audience are lapping up mainstream and populist speech content. BBC Radio 4 has always delivered great audiences, but it’s a very different offering to the former 3. It would be great to see the success of speech radio in a local form in the commercial sector outside London; a trick has proved quite difficult to perform so far. Perhaps as some mainstream music radio does less and less speech, the ‘talk sector’ will benefit more in the future.

Meanwhile in London, Magic continue to outperform its commercial rivals taking top spot in reach and share. Its consistent blend of ‘light favourites’ and inoffensive links seems to be just the job for stressed out Londoners! As I write, they’ve just played Amy Winehouse - ‘Back to Black’ into Candi Staton ‘Young Hearts, Run Free’. Lovely ;-)

Capital are just behind Magic, and still sounding good. The benefit of their big TV campaign and the impact of the networking will be felt next quarter. Kiss have overtaken Heart into 3rd place in terms of reach, which is a great result for Kiss and will be naturally disappointing for Heart, who have really lost touch with Magic now. Next in Kiss’s sights will be Capital, and you can hear how tight the battle is between those two simply by listening to how close the music formats are in the daytime. Want Tinie Tempah, Bruno Mars, Rhianna or Mike Posner? Well either station will suffice right now!

So as the number crunchers do their thing, and stations up and down the UK have an explosion of PowerPoint and Excel, it’s nice to know that above it all, the UK is one of the most vibrant and creative radio markets in the whole world with some fantastic formats, and some superb broadcasters. There really is always something great to listen to... and the continued growth of ‘listen again’ / on-demand / podcasts etc, means that you don’t even have to worry that you missed a particular show.

It’s radio that waits ‘till it’s wanted.

Now that’s Magic! ;-)

1 comment:

Steve Martin said...

Can you do a similar analysis of the West Midlands market please?