RAJAR Q1/2015

60 and 40.

To me this RAJAR is all about what the 60 and 40 are doing to existing radio stations. Established stations are seeing the sand underneath them shift and change. It’s because of the 60 and 40

60% of radio listeners listen to some form of digital radio each week. This digital listening now accounts for nearly 40% of all radio consumed in the country.

That means a large proportion of the UK are using different devices to consume audio. This is making them consume more radio stations and change their old habits.

It’s not about which platform is best, it’s about technology enabling consumers to have a better listening experience. They are using everything at their finger tips, whether rotary dial, touchscreen or mouse to give them something a little more than they had in the past. To better scratch an itch. Or even find a new radio home.

Existing stations are definitely not going away, but they’re changing or having change thrust upon them. Oh, and that’s even before we think about whether their programming is right and they’re firing on all cylinders.

London

In London, Kiss has maintained much of its audience growth with reach at 1,883 (vs 1,911 in Q4) and share at 4.6% (vs 4.8%). It’s also kept ahead of Capital which has had a stinker of a book, indeed it’s worst share ever at 3.8%

Kiss is now bigger at Breakfast whether you look at their own breakfast time-slot (6am to 9am) or Capital’s (6am to 10am)

Magic leads London’s commercial stations with a 4.9% share, LBC at 2 with 4.7%, Heart at 3 with 4.7%, Kiss are 4th with 4.6% and Capital 5th at 3.8%. A brilliant book for the yo-yoing in London Absolute Radio who are 6th with a 3.2% share.

In Global’s stable, Smooth has fallen back a little to 627k reach. Up year on year, but down on the last three books (781, 742, 760). A poor hours result for them too at 3,709m.

Capital Xtra still hasn’t found an audience in the capital, sliding further to 310k reach and its sister station XFM down to a disappointing 362k.

In the capital, digital-only station 6Music’a pulling in 612k reach and in the capital alone, Kisstory’s at 453k. AM and DAB’s Gold’s at 262k whilst digital-only Absolute 80s is nipping at their heals at 255k.

National

It’s the same story nationally. With digital-only stations pulling in better numbers than those that have a dual analogue and digital footprint.

The XFM network’s slumped to 884k reach, now beaten by digital-only Kerrang at 919k and now way behind 6Music’s 2,064m.

The rumours of taking the spectrum that XFM sits on and combining it with Moyles suddenly seems a very valid idea, whether or not they still continue to call it XFM.

Absolute 80s 1.4m reach plays against Gold’s 1.0m and 1Xtra 838k is neck and neck with Capital Xtra’s 840k.

This is the first book measuring Magic nationwide as it’s now on DAB across the UK and it seems to have been great for them – pulling in 3.6m across the country. If we take away their London reach of 1.9m, that leaves them with 1.7m tuning in digitally outside the capital – an amazing success in a single quarter.

If we look at the Kiss reach in its FM areas it’s about 2.7m, take it away from the UK figure of 4.9m – that’s 2.9m people listening to the brand on digital. Again – a stunning result. It’s sister station Kisstory continues to perform well with 1.1m listeners.

Bauer’s Kiss network (the Kisses, Kisstory, Kiss Fresh and, oddly, Heat and Kerrang) total 6.1m listeners compared to the Capital network’s 7m. It’s amazing to think that Bauer can get to that figure without the need for anywhere as many FM stations as Capital and just use digital capacity instead.

With the successes the digital-only stations are making – what does it mean for the valuation of FM licences? Whilst obviously nice to have, they are clearly no longer essential to generating large audiences.

Radio 1 will be disappointed as its reach drops below the psychological 10m mark to 9.69m – it’s lowest reach in a decade. It’s also now at, what I think, is its lowest share ever – 6.4%. Sadly it hasn’t had much of an effect on it’s average age either, which remains at 34.

Local Radio

There’s double-digital drops in reach and hours for much of Bauer’s 2 network. With results like Metro 2 (hours down 44%), Key 2 (hours down 59%), Radio City 2 (hours down 42%), it’s going to be a while before the local network sell of 1, 2 and 3 will help relieve the inventory pressure of their main heritage FM station. Those mammoth Bauer ad-breaks won’t be going anywhere soon.

Capital South Wales continues to be the black sheep of that family, with hours now at 827k – a third of what they were in the Red Dragon years.

Pressure

Radio stations seem to fall into three groups now. Firstly there’s the stations that are doing nothing. They remain on AM and FM with little investment into anything digital (The Breeze, Touch FM). There’s then the stations that are replicating their existing brand on some digital platforms (XFM, Key 2). And then there’s those who are taking what they’re doing and pushing it out to more places and on more platforms (Kiss, Magic, LBC).

The third group are on the offence and they’re using the changes in listener behaviour to eat away at the audience the other two groups have. Doing nothing means that you have to work harder and be more successful in a shrinking analogue pond and doing just a bit? Well, I’m not sure it’s going to be enough either.