Chris Moyles – RAJAR Q4/2015

I’m sure they’ll be a load of press coverage around the return of Moyles this quarter. The problem is that we haven’t really got all the data in yet to properly say how he’s doing.

Radio X’s London figures are measured over three months, but Radio X elsewhere – in Manchester and the ‘UK’ – is measured over a six month period. Therefore, this time round we only get half Radio X and half XFM.

So, what do we know?

Well, I think there will be some disappointment about how he, and the new Radio X, has done in London. They’ve gone from a station reach of 507k to 517k. Which is fairly flat. The show itself has had the best reach for about eight years (and hours for about ten), but it’s still perhaps not quite the scale everyone had hoped for. At a push I’d say that it’s likely that they’ve churned a lot of listening – ie they’ve brought in a similar amount to what they’ve lost. What tells me that? Well the proportion of Radio X listeners who listen to breakfast has gone up quite a bit – 42% to 58%. 104.9 is now a radio station with a base of Moyles fans.

I thought it would have been Moyles’ London figures that would have had the strength, with the rest of the country, because of the 3/6 month thing, gradually following further behind in the next few surveys. But, it hasn’t really worked like that. Even with a 6 month survey period, it’s the UK numbers – that look at the station as a whole – that have seen the growth. For the UK station, reach is up from 1.04m to 1.22m and the national breakfast numbers are up around 40%. Looking at the data it seems like he’s also sitting on a strong UK book for next time, when we’ll perhaps see him on the verge of doubling the old XFM UK breakfast audience.

Similar to London, 97.7 in Manchester has been pretty flat too, with the audience even dropping back a little this quarter.

I suppose what’s happened is that for Manchester and London, where X was on FM, this has all been a bit of a shock – these were stations with passionate audiences. Moyles has brought in new listeners and it’s about balanced out the ones who’ve fled. However, where the growth for Radio X is coming from, is outside its two FM cities. To these listeners this is very much a new radio station.

Global are seemingly on the road to a successful launch of their new station – driven by digital listening – outside of the analogue areas. As the national figures get a full book next quarter, I think we’ll start to see it look more like a success.

Listening to Moyles, the shows three months on are perhaps unsurprisingly much stronger than the early few. The team, who were all very uncertain of their roles and what the dynamic would be, have settled into a much more steady rhythm with individual personalities coming to the fore. Pippa’s dating storylines have really helped round her out and Dave, nervous of Moyles in the beginning, is being given much more meaty things to do and sound much more confident and happy taking part.

I think part of the thing they’re aiming for is a much more relaxed feel. Positioning themselves against formatted breakfast shows, using authenticity (of which Chris has buckets) to make the show seem different is not a bad tactic. Whilst I enjoy the show, as a listener the lack of benchmarks, the changing competition mechanics and thus the need to provide quite a bit of explanation and exposition can though make it hard to navigate.

Overall though, the show is clearly a good one and, with the right focus, will only get better. Global themselves have never been shy of spending money on marketing, but just reading the Facebook page and tweets to Moyles, there is still a big job to do to teach people that not only is Moyles on Radio X, but that’s it’s easy to tune into digitally. There is still more old listeners to deliver across.

Moyles: The show is clearly a good one and, with the right focus, will only get better: Click To Tweet

However for Global and Moyles to achieve the promise, they’re going to have to stay focused and keep delivering. They’ve made a more solid start to this battle than it perhaps seems on the surface, but there’s still a good way to go.

There’s normally more RAJAR fun from Adam Bowie, Paul Easton and John Rosborough.

Moyles and the Clutter Battle

I think it’s impossible to review a new show from the first edition. This morning’s Chris Moyles show was basically a ‘special’. However, there were a few things that I noticed about structure.

The bedrock of commercial music radio is structure. There are a number of things that you have to broadcast in an hour and the flow can be made or broken on how those elements are put together.

Commercial radio is always handicapped by the fact it has to make money. We have to insert interruptions into the programming to pay for it. The trick is to balance how much there is. Not only can you vary how many spot ads there are, you can decide how many sponsored features there are – things like weather, travel, whether there’s paid-for contesting and even if you’re pushing premium rate competitions.

As businesses are generally designed to make money, it can be very tempting to take as much money as you can in the good days. The problem, like a good game of buckaroo, is that if you load too much on, the whole thing collapses and no one wants to listen.

This is connected to the reason that there isn’t much speech on commercial radio, which, generally, is 2-fold:
1. It’s a point of difference to the (relatively) large amount of speech in BBC music radio
2. If we’ve already got 10mins of interruptions an hour from the ads, let’s not add more interruptions in the form of speech

Moyles therefore potentially is a problem as ads+heavy speech on a music station would traditionally generate tune out. Or more accurately, the people who like heavy-speech music radio already listen to the BBC, so heavy speech+ads means we’re on a hiding to nothing from the people who quite like the other type of music radio.

The difference, I think, is about the definition of interruptions. Moyles’ background and heritage means that the audience already knows that he likes to talk. The attraction for Radio X of Moyles is that they’ll be attracting people who understand how he works and what he does.

If you look at fans of the previous XFM Facebook page about how they feel about him, compared to his new show page, you can see the difference in understanding. The old listeners care very much about the amount of music, the new ones, not so much.

Interruptions to a Moyles audience is not about interruptions to the music, it’s interruptions to entertainment. A Moyles listener sees him as a bigger part of the music and speech that make up a show.

Back to structure

Ads aren’t the only interruption to the core being of a show – news, travel, weather, unnecessary sponsored features – these can be interruptions too. Another word for interruptions is clutter. Clutter are the things that get in the way.

What’s great to see with Moyles is how much the clutter’s been minimised.

First no traffic news. Traffic would usually be twice an hour and is likely to run:
Traffic jingle, sponsor credit, traffic bulletin, sponsor credit, traffic network ad. Loads of clutter for a normal breakfast show and here it just doesn’t exist.

Secondly, News. Usually something that’s delivered twice an hour, with Moyles it’s just once an hour. It’s also all delivered by a single voice and one that’s a core part of the team. There didn’t even seem to be an IRN Newslink ad either. Edit: The ‘solus’ Newslink ad, as Sophie Law points out, is actually wrapped into the break with the old “News is next” trick. However, with that and Dom doing it tightly packed and only once an hour it seemed a very clutter-free break.

Ad breaks. In the 7am and 8am hour there were three – 2mins, 1m30sec and 2mins. 5mins30secs an hour is incredibly light. Bauer breakfast shows will be crying on reading how long his run. Sponsor credits run into the breaks – just three times an hour before other commercial messaging.

The only other bit of clutter was a sponsored competition to win tickets to Muse. This was a text when you hear with some premium rate terms (voiced by Toby Anstis) and it was resolved straight after the break. It didn’t overtake the show by being opened and closed quickly.

All that was left was the entertainment – the speech content and the music. There were 4 songs in the 7am hour and 8am hour, 1 in the first half hour and six in the 9am hour. I imagine this is a little lighter than a normal show, but then they did have an exceptional guest in Noel Gallagher.

The entertainment works as it’s high quality, but also because it’s supported by having discarded so much clutter and the show’s fortunate by having shorting ad breaks.

Clearly Moyles is in a privileged position when discussing his show format with his bosses, but to me it really highlights the importance of flow and minimising clutter. If you’re doing breakfast, now really is a perfect time to review clutter and ask if all your show elements are entirely necessary and whether they’re delivered in the most efficient way.

The only structural negatives I felt were:

1. Long comedy production bits. There were a couple of longer than 30sec joke bits of production. I felt if these aren’t REALLY good there’s the danger that these drift into the clutter zone.

2. Talking about ad breaks. Moyles’ listeners are used to there not being ad breaks, when he talks about them, I know they’re coming and therefore feel the content-free discussion is just extending the inevitable. Chris is really lucky his ad breaks are so short, he shouldn’t being adding anything to them by going on about ads.

Overall though, minor quibbles. I’m really happy that Moyles is on commercial radio, I think the show’s going to make a real impact and be a big success. I’m also fascinated to see where the audience comes from.

However, as the show gets popular I imagine it’s inevitable that the demands for greater ad loads will increase as will the desire for more promotions. It’ll be interesting to see how Global balance keeping the existing inventory at a premium versus extending the amount of commercial minutage and whether they can keep doing the excellent job of keeping the clutter at bay.

YouTube, Moyles and Radio

Peter Robinson picked up on Chris Moyles’ YouTube channel last week, giving it a not entirely positive review. However, it was definitely more positive than the ripped off versions that the Mail and Mirror then followed up with.

The crux of the feedback is “Oh the mighty have fallen, he used to have 8million listeners and now he’s only got 10,000 subscribers”. I think fundamentally they have all missed the point and we should be celebrating what Moyles is doing rather than slagging it off.

Views & Subscribers

A lot of people’s understanding of YouTube is watching viral content, slip ups, cute animals or rips of performances/TV show segments. These, because they are viral hits, tend to have large numbers of views. What you’re watching is the hits.  But that is very much just one side of YouTube.

To me, the interesting part of YouTube is the material that’s being created specifically for the platform. Rather than just using it to host some videos that you want to point to.

YouTube’s core aim is to make people consume more minutes of video content on the site. It wants people to keep returning to consume regular material rather than just the latest 1D video or see that lion jump into the arms of that man.

To get there, it’s funded quite a lot of channels from a variety of sources, to see what ends up being popular. That’s ranged from Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube to ITN’s Truth Loader and All3Media’s Daily Mix. At the same time, more naturally, kids with cameras have put themselves and their lives on the internet and become ‘YouTubers’.

Both types of content work for YouTube, the branded content working for slightly older audiences whilst YouTubers are providing a reach of 13 to 19 year old bigger than any traditional media platform.

YouTube’s focus on ‘subscribing’ to these channels encourages the content to more easily flow to fans and thus drives up the minutes consumed. You may have seen YouTube’s outdoor advertising currently pushing Zoella, Slow Mo Guys and Vice News. All native YouTube content.

YouTubers

The YouTubers phenomenon, in particular, is fascinating. Fresh faced attractive youngsters in their teens/early 20s create light, fun videos that have massive resonance with teenagers. The number of subscribers people like Zoella, Alfie and Marcus have are in the millions with videos getting 1m plus views.

What was telling at Radio 1’s Teen Awards last weekend was that the YouTubers on show – Dan/Phil, Zoella, Alfie, Tyler – were getting much bigger cheers than many of the popstars and pretty much all of the Radio 1 presenters.

To be honest, this isn’t really surprising. Teens have pretty much no traditional media targeting at them any more. Kiss/Capital/R1 is broader and needs people in their 20s to listen, CBBC doesn’t appeal to 13+, there’s no T4 any more and E4/BBC Three/MTV again need to be broader propositions. For a mobile generation with laptops in their bedrooms, YouTubers are people like them. Funnier, more attractive people, granted. But they’re much more representative of a desirable teenage life than anything traditional media gives them.

Radio 1 has dipped its toe in the water with Dan and Phil on Sunday and now its weekly one-hour YouTuber show, which is more than anyone else has bothered with. However I think we’ll start to see that ghettoising them in a 1 hour show is like early 90s Radio 1 just playing a few hours of dance a week, at a time when it was a huge part of young people’s lives.

Mass Media and YouTube

Anyway, as the people who write the Moyles knocking articles use YouTube for viral hits rather than subscribing to content themselves, they misunderstand what it takes to make native YouTube content really work.

Indeed, you can tell the media organisations that are driven by one-offs vs regular subscribers by looking at the stats.

If we take Key 103 in Manchester, they have around 3,000 subscribers, which is alright for something that clearly not a huge amount of effort is put into. Their YouTube homepage is, er, a little bare. If we nip into the video section, view counts range from 30 to 30,000. It, like many radio stations, give an incredibly confusing ‘subscriber-led’ experience. It veers from news, to breakfast show bits, to Esther Rantzen, to auditions for their girl band and from The Vamps to vandalised graves!

YouTube subscriptions and the ability to grow views for channels comes from consistency. Pretty much every radio station fails at delivering it and it’s no surprise that view and subscriber counts for the majority of radio stations are low.

One of their successes is an interview with The Vamps with over 10,000 views. I’d wager that pretty much all of that came from Vamps fans unconnected with the radio station.

YouTube should not be a dumping ground for station video of massively variable quality, with uploaders hoping that something will be a viral hit. For Key (and stations like it) just do the celebrity stuff and brilliant things like their Surprisal video – just be consistent. AND LESS VANDALISED GRAVES!

At the other end of the spectrum, Radio 1 are very proud of their 1.6m subscribers. They almost suffer a problem at the other end of the spectrum. The content they make is great and there’s lots of it. Amazing live lounge performances, viral stunts, interviews, features like Fire in the Booth and Innuendo Bingo. But I think they suffer from a consistency problem too.

They’ve worked hard to make sure that 1.6m people see their new videos in users’ feeds, but there seems to be very few views generated from this massive advantage. Of course not everyone’s going to like everything, but 6-7k views for film reviews or even 40k for a decent guest on Innuendo Bingo seems a low engagement rate when you think about the number of subscribers.

Live Lounges look and sound great with amazing stars, but like Key 103’s Vamps video how many of Taylor Swift’s 150k views for a performance of Love Story and 1.5m for her Vance Joy cover come from R1 fans rather Taylor’s own searching out that video on whoever’s channel it happens to be.

Now don’t get me wrong, viral reach is great. For radio it’s got the potential to be a great reach builder for a station, but it has very little to do with that ‘subscriber’ number – or what that subscriber number has the potential to deliver. Also – if you know a video has good viral potential because it’s with a celeb with a strong fan base – PLEASE remember to use it to plug your radio station. When’s the Live Lounge on? What station is it on? Who’s up next?

On this Taylor Swift video the branding in the performance is all Live Lounge – there’s no BBC or Radio 1 mentions. No one in the video says it’s part of Fearne’s show or how to tune in. There’s top and tail R1 branding, but with no radio call to action – the only CTA is to subscribe. BUT WHY? Surely one of the central purposes of growing subscribers has to be so that more teens then listen to the radio station?

To me, if I was trying to prove that my videos were working I would be looking at the view counts of non-viral videos. What is the content that people are coming to me for? How can I make them return regularly. It should be the same thing you think about with your radio content.

I’d also see success as the percentage of subscribers who go on to watch a video.

Thinking

I wish I could point to my radio station, Fun Kids, as having the answer. We definitely don’t. We need to be better at growing our subscribers and recently we’re trying to be better at focusing content on music-based entertainment (that is after all what we do on the radio). We’re also experimenting with additional channels that do different types of content – so we can maintain a core experience but still have the room to try new things. However, sometimes we still forget to plug the radio station properly.

Presenters’ Own Media

I’m always stunned how little of their own media radio presenters have. DJs build a relationship with their audiences on-air. If I wanted people to listen to me on that radio station more,  I’d be doing all I could to continue that relationship on other media, so I could cross-promote back. Twitter is a good start of that, but it isn’t the be all and end all. Where are their YouTube channels, their blogs, their newsletters? If they owned more of a relationship with their audience they would become more employable and get a better deal come contract renewal time.

I’m particularly surprised why no DJs really do YouTube. Especially the younger end. If I was on Kiss, Capital, Radio 1 or The Hits I’d be spending significant time on weekly videos growing my relationship with a core part of the audience.

[update: A commenter points out the success of Westwood with WestwoodTV on YouTube]

YouTuber Zoella has 6million subscribers and each of her videos get around 1.5-2m views. They are also mainly watching for her. She doesn’t have, or need, a viral video collaboration with The Vamps or Taylor Swift to drag their audience in. She is consistent, entertaining and audience-focused. She delivers what they like and expect and she does it once a week so as not to overload their feeds.

Back to Moyles

This is why I’m a fan of what Moyles is doing.

He does not need to do YouTube videos. If he wanted to be back on the radio he could be there right away. If he wanted to wait a while for something perfect to come up he could easily do that, quietly. If he wanted to be in the public eye, he’d be on Strictly!

I hope what he’s trying to do is to turn some of his large, passive broadcast audience into fans.

Our relationships with listeners is a funnel. So for Moyles he had 8million listeners. They consumed him through a passive device – the radio. Super low effort. Lower down the funnel are his Twitter followers – 3m of them. A little more effort – pressing follow – and not all of his audience will be on Twitter, so of course it’s smaller. Of those Twitter followers, how many see his tweets in a week? Maybe 300k or 400k? You would need to be a regular Twitter to see them pop up occasionally. How many of the follower accounts are bots or dormant? Probably quite a few.

Then you take the ones who see it and count how many then click through to something. 20% perhaps? How many then do the next action – donate, read something, watch a video? How many links do you flick through in Twitter each day and ignore? Even from people you really like?

However, each person who does click through and watch? Well that’s engagement.

I care much more about people at the bottom of the funnel than I do at the top. They’re the valuable ones.

In radio it’s your biggest fans who give you the bulk of your hours. As a station your job should be to create fans, to take them through radio’s funnel – awareness, sample, light listener, regular listener, fan.

Moyles’ YouTube

Moyles is getting 15 to 20k views per video from a percentage of his 10k subscribers and tweets/Facebook etc. I think this is great. His job is to entice people to watch videos for the first time and then get them to subscribe. Those subscribers should then be the base for a larger number of views of future videos.

He’s also encouraging subscription for an audience – 25+ – who aren’t native subscribers like the teens are. They’re the viral consumers rather than today’s subscribing ones.

It is not an easy task to do. But can you name any other radio presenters who have bothered to try?

The other thing I like is that he’s clearly making and editing it himself. One of the reason Moyles was so good on the radio was that he was a brilliant producer. He understood the theory, he was a brilliant technical practitioner and he was funny and  creative – a perfect combination. I think he’ll have a much better chance of success with his videos as he better understands what works and how to put it together.

So far, he’s nine videos in, he’s experimenting with form and content and that’s going to keep evolving. The hardest part is keeping up the enthusiasm to keep going.

14,000 people watched last week’s Innuendo Bingo on the R1 Channel, something supported by a broadcast radio station and 1.6m subscribers. 15,600 watched this week’s Moyles vlog on a channel with 10k subscribers and just some Twitter for promotion. I think he’s doing alright.

 

 

 

 

 

Great Moyles Bit

I was listening to Chris Moyles last Thursday and felt they did a great bit on the show which really made me chuckle on the way to the office.

It’s two links one pre-news and one post-news, where Moyles (to great comedic effect) takes issue with specialist presenters Jaymo and Andy George. I think as well as being funny, it has great radio pace.

First there’s an observation, there’s some audio, there’s a discussion, there’s some gags about it, there’s listener interaction, there’s a challenge (a hook and tease), there’s then a resolution with a demonstration (with significant technical skill) that’s funny and another gag about it before a power out into a tune.

The nature of the material also makes you really listen.

Have a listen below:

http://www.mattdeegan.com/files/moyles-jaymo

 

Radio Roundabout

Oooh, it’s be a busy radio morning, hasn’t it? We’ve got Mr Moyles celebrating becoming the longest serving Radio 1 Breakfast DJ and Sir Tel announcing (after a little Daily Mail intervention) that he’s abandoning his TOGs for a weekend show and letting that young whipper-snapper Chris Evans have another BBC breakfast show.

I don’t think there’s any particular surprise in the Radio 2 announcements – they’ve replaced a hugely successful presenter with the next most sucessful presenter on the network. Though, as Adam points out, there is a bit of a demographic issue.

What it doesn’t do is help the arguments about Radio 2 moving younger in the commercial heartland. However, and I think we all know this, they really couldn’t care less and so carry on regardless.

However, what I think this does do, is open up the opportunity to make a stab at turning drive into something a bit more public service-y. Already Drive with Chris has business and sports elements to make it more than pop and prattle, but with a likely move of Mayo to 2 from 5 there’s a real opportunity to make it even more striking.

Though his heritage proves that Simon can do mainsteam pop really well it would be great to see him bring things like his book reviews and more in-depth interviews (along with the Good Doctor) to a new drivetime show. Radio 2 already does this marvellously at lunchtime, it would be in keeping with Tim Davie’s recent announcement if they made their new drive show even more distinctive.