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Rajar Q1 2019: Analysis

16 May 2019 
Rajar Q1 2019: Analysis

Rajar's latest report proves everyone loves radio - and despite so many great stations and shows on the ever popular BBC, commercial radio is also in rude health. Here are the key take-outs, with views from industry experts.

Full report for the national stations and networks available here. Breakfast market here, and a digital report here.

Aled Schell, senior planner, The Specialist Works

With linear listener numbers remaining high in a turbulent media marketplace and record commercial revenues, 2018 was a resurgent year for radio. Favourable studies from the likes of Ebiquity have only further underscored how undervalued this channel is perceived by marketers.

This year looks set to continue that trend and see commercial radio cement its place at the top of the podium against its BBC competitors with its biggest ever lead over Aunty Beeb.

While this is largely driven by the growth of national brands in this quarter, there are many green-shoots in 2019 which indicate this trend is continuing. You need to look no further than Chris Evans’ Virgin show publishing promising early numbers, the launch of new stations like Scala [which starts reporting in Q2 Rajar - Ed.], and the ambitious launches of networked national breakfast shows across three of Global’s flagship brands.

A year ago in the Q1 2018 Rajar we saw the first set of results with digital listening accounting for more than half of total radio listening and we see this go from strength-to-strength, up to 56.4% this Rajar. This comes at a good time with Margot James, the minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, confirming earlier this week that the government is set to begin its review of digital radio and the digital migration.

While podcasts and digital audio may be the latest ‘shiny thing’ in the audio space, commercial radio is continuing to evolve and show that there’s plenty of strength in this channel.

Euan McMorrow, head of content, Immedia

The increase in people listening online - potentially driven by smart speakers - means established big brands are facing more competition from new entrants. Many of the stations on the up in this latest analysis from Rajar such as Kisstory, Absolute 80s and Virgin Radio didn’t even exist ten years ago.

As more people, especially the younger demographic, listen online and on mobile, the opportunities to grab these audiences rise for newcomers.

The big increase in listeners for Virgin Radio show that brands who invest in the right content, be innovative around formats and are widely available digitally, can make big inroads quickly.

In contrast (and in general) brands that do not adapt to their audience, lack innovation and do not offer an omnichannel approach risk remaining static or losing their market share.

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22 May 2020 

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