Rajar Q3 2019: Breakfast markets
National breakfast market
Following a rather disappointing second quarter for Zoe Ball’s BBC Radio 2 breakfast show, the bad news continued into Q3 – although the decline in listeners has slowed.
The show, which saw Ball take over from host Chris Evans in January, was down -4.4% quarter on quarter (and -10.4% year-on-year) taking its total weekly reach to 7.9m.
Despite the decline, the show is still the market leader - and listeners do not appear to have flocked to Evans' Virgin Network show which remains pretty much unchanged from Q2 with just a 0.3% boost to 1.1m listeners.
In second position, Radio 4 also recorded a decline in Q3. A drop of -3.6% means the show has a weekly reach of 6.6m – and that could witness a fluctuation next quarter following the departure of long-term host John Humphreys at the end of last month.
Elsewhere, it is worth noting the national breakfast market has some new editions.
Capital Network UK, Greatest Hits Radio, Heart Network and Planet Rock have all expanded their remit, so expect some future shake-ups in listening as the competition evolves.
Although some of the comparable data is missing, Global’s Heart has immediately moved into the fourth slot with almost 4.6m listeners, while Capital Network UK (also broadcast by Global) is in fifth place with almost 3.7m.
Meanwhile Bauer’s Greatest Hits has already reached 397,000 and is growing 10% per quarter.
Amongst the established players, some of the biggest declines in Q3 were attributed to BBC Radio 3 (down -19.4% QoQ but up 3.5% YoY) and Classic FM (down -11.9% QoQ and -0.8% YoY).
The classical music stations could – in part - be falling victim to Bauer’s rival station Scala (which is still tiny and is not yet included in the rankings with just 69,000 listeners), as much as any seasonal variations.
Bauer’s Kiss was also down -17.5% to 1.6m, making it one of the hardest hit stations in Q3.
However, Bauer’s Magic was also one of the best performing stations – up 11.4% QoQ and 17.6% YoY.
The third quarter of 2019 saw some serious shake-ups to the London breakfast market, with Global's LBC now claiming the highest weekly reach of any station.
The talk show grew its reach 7.7% over the quarter to 813,000 - an increase of 58,000 listeners - jumping from third to first place in the rankings.
Meanwhile, long time front runner Capital London, also a Global station, was bumped down to second after losing close to 300,000 listeners, plummeting -29.6% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) to 708,000.
Heart London also struggled over the period, down -9.4% to a weekly reach of 647,000.
Elsewhere, Bauer's Magic London saw its reach rise 15.8% QoQ to 695,000, now ranking third with an additional 95,000 listeners. Absolute Radio also managed to grow its reach, up 2.3% QoQ to 403,000.
However, Bauer's Kiss London recorded the largest quarterly and yearly decline, down -31% and -41.4%, respectively, to a weekly reach of 527,000 - a loss of 237,000 listeners.
Smooth Radio, BBC Radio London and Radio X were also down over the quarter, dropping -28.2%, -5.8% and -24.4%, respectively.