Rajar Q3 2013: Industry reaction

24 Oct 2013  |  David Pidgeon 
Rajar Q3 2013: Industry reaction

Rajar has today announced 90% of the adult (15+) UK population - 47.7 million people - tuned in to their selected radio stations in the third quarter of 2013. This is up by approximately 1 million adults on the same quarter of the previous year.

Highlights this quarter include a major decline for Nick Grimshaw's BBC Radio 1 breakfast show - recording the lowest listening figures in 20 years. However, better news for Kiss FM, which saw a 16.5% quarterly and yearly increase - taking its weekly reach to more than 5 million.

Here, Newsline presents industry reaction on the latest results, with opinion from MEC Global, Gekko and ZenithOptimedia.

Click here for a full round-up of the results.

Click here to read Andy Haylett's views on the decline in listening.

Jason Steele, social media director at MEC Global Solutions

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The increased availability of mobile devices and choice of apps, along with better connectivity in more locations has resulted in significant year-on-year increases (14%) in radio listening via digital platforms.

The latest RAJAR figures highlight the same trends we are seeing in the television industry; as long as audiences can access great content wherever they are, they don't care about which platform or device they use. It's important that when integrating radio and music services into their strategies, brands are being flexible enough to deliver content experiences that mirror this multi-platform trend, rather than considering channels in isolation.

It's also been reported that platforms like Shazam will start to tailor their offering for radio in the same way that they have for branded television ads. If this is indeed the case, there will be great opportunities for brands to provide additional content and drive engagement in a more connected way.

The prevalence of Spotify will also have had an impact on the figures. The popular digital music service offers a wide selection of radio stations to listen to as well as Tunein Radio. Spotify also operates a web player so users now don't even need the app to stream radio.

In the US iTunes radio is now a native option within iTunes operating 200 channels with an additional 25 editorial channels. This option will be available in Europe in the coming months, and will bring with it the opportunity for brands to use the placements available within the services to tailor ads and drive traffic to online experiences like video, pre-orders or app downloads.

Chris Hayward, head of investment, ZenithOptimedia

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Radio is a fascinating medium, one that's vastly underutilised by brands, but I think soon that could be about to change.

For a long time, radio (like TV in many respects), referred both to a medium and the device upon which it was consumed. Whether it be a car radio, an 'office' radio or a pocket radio, the differentiator was purely the context it happened to sit within.

Today, radio can be consumed through your TV, phone, laptop - and probably even your fridge before long. The point being, the medium is no longer being tied down to a device, and that's a wonderful opportunity for brands for two main reasons:

Firstly, we now have access to data that allows us to understand and target audiences more closely than ever before. Digital listening is increasing, so while that total listeners figure holds steady at approximately 90%, listeners are still tuning in, but finding new ways in which to do so. By having that smartphone accessibility, radio provides another way to reach listeners in brand new contexts.

Secondly, as brands start to shift bigger and more sustained investments into earned media, there's an opportunity for some real innovation through the creation of rich, relevant branded content. As we're seeking to better understand the newer platforms like Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest and the like, we shouldn't overlook what radio has to offer too - particularly with over a billion hours worth of consumption per week.

Daniel Todaro, MD at Gekko

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What stands out for me is the extent to which our lives are so increasingly dominated by smartphones. Convergence is an oft-used term, but radio consumption in particular provides a stark illustration at the speed in which this is happening. Consider that back in Q1 of 2011 and the iPhone 4 was still very much a novelty for most consumers and less than three years later consumption in the 25+ category has almost doubled, whilst the age group fuelling this shift - the 16-24s has jumped from 28.6% to well over 40%.

With digital listening increasing across DAB, Digital TV and online through PCs and laptops, it too paints a portrait of how our lifestyles are being fundamentally altered by the technology around us. Everything is so easily accessible and radio is no longer restricted to specialist devices.

Far from being a platform in decline, I think the possibilities for brands to engage is ever-increasing as the way in which we engage and interact with radio changes. Particularly as our current 16-24's grow older and give way to a new generation of even more highly connected, digitally savvy youths, we'll soon know of radio only as a medium.

Steve Parkinson, managing director, Bauer Radio London

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This is a good outlook for radio in general with both BBC and commercial radio up in reach year on year. This is a positive achievement considering a year ago we were still in the midst of the Olympic media buzz.

Commercial radio is the winner in terms of listening this quarter, however, with BBC hours down 1.1% year on year, and commercial radio as a whole up by 1.7% - led by Bauer's hours increasing 2.5% yoy to 114 million hours and Global's hours increasing 2.7% to 166 million. Total Absolute Radio have also seen an impressive hike in listening YoY of 32% to 25 million hours.

Kiss UK has broken the 5 million barrier for the first time as its audience soars with its new offering of three distinct flavours. It was first off the mark with national urban and dance offerings - Kiss FM UK, Kisstory and Kiss Fresh. Kisstory already has 854,000 listeners alone to its digital service which is showing that with the right content, brands can attract new listeners to their services without damaging other parts of its offering. Looks like Kiss and Capital will continue to do battle nationally in the months to come as brand extensions look to add audience scale and breadth.

It's great to see Magic climb back to number one in terms of commercial share in London with 6%, and 12.3 million hours, more than 3 million hours ahead of Heart 106.2. Networking works to get the big headline but as radio bosses we need to watch the implications of what a more national proposition can do to key smaller parts of portfolios.

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