Executive Summary – RAJAR Q1 2015

It’s RAJAR day today… the quarterly results for listening habits in Britain. And what better way to start our analysis than by entering the mindset of today’s listener?

The simple fact, borne out by logic but also by the results that follow, is that things are changing and they’re changing for the better. Today’s listeners are consuming more and more radio from more and more brands and on more and more devices. From analogue radios to DAB sets, from smartphones to various in-car and online technologies…the list goes on. The devices are multiplying and headphone sales are extraordinary but the one common theme is that we’re all doing much more listening.

Top-line, radio reaches nearly everyone. 89% of the UK population listen to radio every week. That’s a pretty good starting point! But what are they listening to and what are the trends? This is the first ever RAJAR where listening to radio in London via a digital platform exceeds listening via analogue and yet the radio brands you’ll see below are the same big players. Which just goes to show that the industry has made the switch, moving with the devices listeners are using to pump good content through more channels to maintain relevance.

Just London’s RAJAR

More people are listening to radio in London via a digital platform than they are on analogue, according to the latest RAJAR figures. Digital listening (which is more than just DAB) in London is now 46.8%, analogue AM/FM is now 46.2%.

But whatever type of device London listens on, its favourite wake-up call is now Kiss Breakfast. Rickie, Melvin and Charlie now serve up the biggest breakfast on London’s table, taking top spot whether you look at the 6 to 9am slot or the 6 to 10am slot. A clean win.

Through the week, Magic London is now number 1 in terms of weekly reach and total listening hours with over 1.9 million people in London tuning in each week. In the yoyo wars for London’s number 1 spot, Magic has pulled the ace, the rabbit and the “I’m number 1” badge straight out of the hat with a masterful performance.

Absolute London was another amazing story, it had an Absolute belter and the station gained 33% (230,000) listeners per week. With the increase in average listening hours the station is up 61% in total listening hours, quarter on quarter. That’s a lot more listening flowing through their pipeline.

LBC London News 1152 was another big winner, all the more impressive because the survey period ended before the General Election. The station was up 48% in weekly reach (375,000) and 82% in total listening hours (1,964,000).

As well as the amazing performance of the Breakfast Show, Kiss 100’s overall results have stayed fairly level (meaning its kept a lot of its newly acquired audience). Kiss 100 enjoyed a steady RAJAR with a result of 1,883,000 weekly listeners (it was 1,911,000 last time).

Heart London has been one of London’s more erratic performers over the last few years and this quarter was no exception, but massive audience reach of 1,533,000 with average weekly listening hours of 6.1 are not to be sniffed at.

Capital London booked a large audience at 1,793,000 per week and those listeners tend to dip in and out with average listener hours of 4.2. Whilst lower hours reduce share, the dip in, dip out listeners particularly use radio as a mood enhancer. That means it’s no surprise our figures show that our advertiser’s ROI on Capital is amongst some of our strongest performers.

The top 5 in terms of weekly listeners:
Magic 105.4
Kiss 100
Capital 95.8
Heart 106.2
Absolute London

The top 5 in terms of total listening hours:
Magic 105.4
LBC 97.3
Heart 106.2
Kiss 100
Capital 95.8

It was a little disappointing to see Sunrise Radio losing 30% in hours but with so many changes there over the last year, we feel better times are ahead for them.

Just the National RAJAR Picture

Digital station Absolute 80’s remains the most listened to digital commercial station with 1,448,000 listeners – up 2% – and Kisstory did amazingly well, up 8% in reach to 1,131,000 (the highest it’s ever been) and up 11% in total hours.

Magic and Kiss both posted superb national results as DAB’s national effect kicked in big time. They truly are national buys now. In the case of Magic, the 1.9m listeners in London are now supplemented by 1.7m outside of London. That’s a big 3.6m devotees to the Magic brand every week.

LBC UK was up 2% in reach meaning that the ‘Leading Britain’s Conversation’ strategy is starting to bed in. Total XFM Network reach is down 6% and hours are down just 1% but digging deeper into the back end of the stats implies that digital listening is up on XFM, so there’s room for optimism.

Heart Network UK has had little change – down 1% in reach (just below 9 million now), total hours consistent with last quarter.

Capital Network was down 2% in reach but that’s a fairly level result and the network now reaches an unerringly exact 7,000,000 listeners per week!

Classic FM maintained reach of over 5.5million, with its affluent AB1 audience it’s an incredible station.

Good News From The Regions – Region by Region round up

Here’s a selection of big and small headlines from around the UK.

England

In Hull, Viking FM increased its reach from 208,000 to 221,000 listeners. It also sees total hours up 21%.

TFM for Middlesbrough increased its hours from 1,173,000 to 1,276,000 – up by 9%.

In Coventry and Warwickshire, Free Radio FM boasts a 61% increase in total hours to 979,000.

Capital Manchester sees an increase of 21% in total hours, up to 2,794,000.

Liverpool’s Juice FM is still squeezing out those hours, another 12% increase on last quarter and up to 257,000 weekly listeners – healthy results!

Jack Berkshire sees their listeners hours increase by 43% to 99,000.

No change for Peak FM in terms of reach figures, however total hours increases by 11% to 942,000.

Minster is up 10% in hours to an average of 6.6 hours per week.

Trax FM is up 15% in total hours from 724,000 to 831,000.

The Breeze Solent increases hours by 113,000, up 28%.

Shaking things up, the Mix 96 goes up 45% in hours.

Wish FM is up 14% in reach to 73,000 listeners.

Tower FM is up 23% in reach to 53,000 listeners and 27% in total hours to 247,000 hours

All the Jack FM’s performed well so listeners like the brand –  the Reading transmitter hours have gone up 43%.

Scotland

Smooth Radio Scotland has built on its impressive gains last quarter when it saw an increase in hours of 58% – this time it has increased its average listening hours to 11.2 which has brought its total hours up by a further 19%.

Forth 2 had a 66% increase in total hours (and 29% increase in reach).

In the central belt, Capital Scotland has made a 19% gain in total listening hours. Heart Scotland still has the edge over Capital in total hours, but this has narrowed the gap significantly.

Other highlights include:

Clyde 1 – up 16% in reach and 12% in hours.

Clyde 2 is up 20% in reach and 6% in hours.

Forth 1 is up 5% in reach and 6% in hours.

Tay FM up 1% in reach and 1% in hours.

Radio Borders – remains stable with no change to its figures.

Kingdom FM is up 11% in reach and 16% in hours.

Wales

The biggest change in Welsh ILRs is Nation Radio which has increased its reach by 17%, total hours are now 870,000.

Heart North Wales has improved on the staggering gains it made last quarter (49% in reach and up a massive 94% in hours) by adding a further 24,000 listeners and a 38% increase in hours.

Heart North Wales is up 22% in reach and 38% in hours.

There are no major reach changes to Capital North West & Wales –  but it’s up 3% in hours.

Northern Ireland

The two largest Northern Irish stations (Cool FM and Downtown) have both dropped 3% in reach – but Cool FM has managed to increase its total hours by14% and has regained its title as the most listened to station in Northern Ireland.

Bit of a mixed bag in Northern Ireland with no major changes but the biggest winner is Citybeat which is up 12% in reach and 27% in hours.

And finally, Q Radio is up 7% in reach.