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Rajar Q3 2019: Analysis

24 Oct 2019 
Rajar Q3 2019: Analysis

Rajar's Q3 2019 report has painted a healthy picture of an evolving radio sector - 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

Despite a slight decline quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year, total radio is holding strong, reaching 88 percent of adults every week with commercial radio delivering a record high of 36m adult listeners.

The struggles continue for the BBC, with total reach down 629,000 listeners quarter-on-quarter. Newspaper headlines are pointing to Zoe Ball’s Radio Two breakfast show as the source of the dip, which recorded its lowest numbers in a decade since she took over from Chris Evans who departed to Virgin Radio earlier this year. But in reality, when you look into the details, declines quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year across BBC radio’s main channels suggest the problems are in fact far further reaching.

In contrast, commercial radio maintains its revival as it delivers its largest share of the market in the past 20 years, and is fast closing the gap on the BBC in the process. National brand extension launches and consolidations are the key to their success. The Heart Breakfast Show with Theakston and Holden has become the UK’s largest commercial breakfast show in its first set of diary numbers since its national launch in June, after axing 22 regional programmes.

The ‘B’ word – ‘Brexit’, if it needs spelling out – shaping the news landscape shows little sign of abating, and this is helping drive overall speech radio listenership, with increases for talkRADIO and LBC, which posted its best ever set of results since coming to air 46 years ago.

Craig Eastwood, head of planning, RadioWorks Group

Brexit is everywhere in the media, and it has undoubtedly left its mark on RAJAR too. Both LBC and talkRADIO have seen spikes in listenership as a result. LBC’s Nick Ferrari has bagged the top spot in the battle of London breakfast shows, and talkRADIO’s reach is up almost 57% Year-on-Year.

Many have anticipated that talk stations will underperform due to the sudden popularity of podcasts (9.4m weekly reach), but this quarter’s results clearly state otherwise. In response to increased listening for talk stations, LBC News is set to launch on the 28th October on national DAB, providing 24 hour news. All in all, this ties in well with the notion that radio is still the ‘original influencer’ which Radiocentre shrewdly implies in their latest ad campaign.

Moreover, as digital continues to grow (56.8% share of listening), smart speaker ownership has seen a slight increase to 28%. With Black Friday and Christmas on the horizon, smart speakers are sure to be a popular gift again this year, so we expect to see more listeners accessing their favourite stations through voice and an increase in bespoke smart speaker campaigns in 2020.

Ash Bendelow, MD, Brave

Traditionally, radio has been seen as the poor relation in the creative advertising playbook, lacking the showbiz glamour of TV or the shiny new toyness of digital.

Yet, Radio continues to grow in its reach and, with podcast add-ons for some presenters, this looks set to continue, making radio an increasingly important consideration for brands. What the RAJAR figures show is that brands and agencies should make more of Radio and place it on an even footing to other mediums.

Key to optimising the opportunity of higher consumer effectiveness through Radio will be the exploration of the right creative to evoke the best emotional responses to achieve radio’s fullest potential.

Agencies need to think more creatively – you could say, more sensorially – to make the most of this uniquely personal medium. But what is right for TV or digital, isn’t necessarily right for radio – so brands need to use the tools at our disposal to stress-test the quality of ideas before delivering the creative.

Mediatel are the audio experts operating at the centre of audio trading, distribution and analytic processing. Contact us for more information on J-ET, Audiotrack or our RAJAR data engine.

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05 Aug 2020 

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