RAJAR Q4/2014

Capital is no longer London’s Number 1 Hit Music Station.

Well done to Andy Roberts from Kiss who has finally managed to beat Capital on reach, hours and share.

Kiss has often been number one for different demos and every so often for hours, but looking at the past ten years it has beaten it on reach only once. This quarter though its the first time they’ve beaten it on both measures (1,911 vs 1,869 in reach and 9,965m vs 8,509m in hours). RAJAR bonuses all round!

The trick of course is whether it can be a sustained or if it’s just a one off.

Capital

I’m a CHR fan. I love tight, music-driven radio. And though I’m out of the demo, I hope that I can still hear through the ears of a young ‘un. I think one of the issues Capital faces is that the product’s just a bit dull.

Historically being tight makes CHR a winner. I think that’s changing. With youth audiences we have cleared out a lot of listeners who just want the hits to Spotify/Music TV et al. I think this leaves us with a bunch of people who don’t mind a little non-music entertainment and that’s where Kiss is winning. It’s still tight but at least there’s some personality.

Case in point is poor Marvin off of JLS. He’s a good signing for Capital. He’s an ex-popstar, he’s married to a popstar and he presents the biggest show on Saturday nights with The Voice. He’s mates with the stars (or could appear to be) but you would never know any of this by listening to his show.

I had it on the other week and it was such a missed opportunity, have a listen below. He spoke for less than 6minutes over three hours. I think he jocks it well, but there’s just nothing there. The Hits, Kiss and R1 are streets ahead.

That’s not to say Global have lost their touch. Smooth and Heart are doing storming business.

Heart

As I mentioned last time round, Heart London’s bad book was probably more down to Summer holidays than anything else. Well, whatever it was, Heart’s now gone number 1 in London for share – with a stonking 6.3%.

Looking at the new Hearts around the country (the old ex-Real Radios) they’re doing incredibly well too. Heart North East’s got the best reach and hours for three years, Heart North West’s got the best reach for 3 years and best hours for 5 and Heart Yorkshire’s got the best reach for at least 10 years.

The overall transition is a great success resulting in a best ever reach and hours for the network.

Smooth

Smooth’s not too shabby either. In London Smooth was hovering in the 400s for reach, it’s now had three books in a row in the 700s. It’s getting solid 2 shares since the re-launch, something it previously only managed back in Q2/2006. The North West did well under the old regime, but under the new it’s gone up a gear, delivering 1.1m reach and 8.1m hours.

The network as a whole has hit an all time record reach at 4.7m people and record hours of 38.5m

Digital

Digital Radio UK have sent me their latest update on digital radio. Lots of positives:

  • DAB listening share has increased by 6% year on year (3% quarter on quarter) and now represents over a quarter of all radio listening (25.2%) and over 30% in home (30.3%).
  • DAB listening in car grew by 29% year on year and total digital reach in car is now 7.6 million people per week.
  • 48.9% of the population or 26 million adults now have access to a DAB digital radio, up 7% year on year.
  • Analogue radio listening is at its lowest ever level; 56.2% nationally and below 50% in London and the North West regions.
  • Digital radio listening in home (46.2%) has overtaken analogue listening (45.6%) for the first time.
  • Over half of the population (52%) or nearly 28 million people now listen to radio on a digital platform every week.

I think in-home listening being majority digital is a big shift. If you’re not on DAB your available audience is just shrinking so fast its probably impossible to counter.

We’ve also definitely passed ‘peak digital TV’ it’s dropping quite significantly now, down 11% year on year.

I also think internet radio listening is massively disappointing. It’s increased at the same rate as DAB – 6%, but from a much lower base. This is at a time when listening to the radio through the internet has never been more accessible – high broadband penetration, 3G and 4G, smartphones, apps, infinite choice, higher quality – but it’s just not something that’s capturing people’s imagination. I don’t know why this is.

Internet radio and specifically app based listening gets the most platform plugs on any radio station and especially on station websites. But it’s not generating the explosion you would expect. As an industry, we should be lucky that we’re not relying on internet radio to be our only future. If we were we’d be stuffed!

It’s not just here in the UK. In the US, growth of internet streaming for regular radio stations has massively slowed down too. Over there, it’s the pure-plays like Pandora that are still seeing good growth. We’re lucky that we don’t have those sorts of competitors over here, if we did I think we’d be over the moon with our 6% growth.

If you want me to mention your RAJAR successes make sure you send me your press release.

Some other RAJAR thoughts: