Rajar Q2 2018: National stations and networks

02 Aug 2018  |  Newsline Staff 
Rajar Q2 2018: National stations and networks

As Rajar releases its second quarter results for the radio market, Newsline presents the key findings showing station and network reach, share and average listening hours

Reach

After achieving its highest ever reach in the first quarter of this year, commercial radio has continued to record strong weekly reach figures.

Total Global Radio experienced no change quarter-on-quarter, maintaining a steady reach of 24 million weekly listeners across its 16 national stations - a 1.5% increase year-on-year.

Just three of Global's stations recorded declines this quarter: Classic FM fell -7.6%, LBC Network was down -2.8% and Heart 80s, recording the largest quarterly decline of all stations, declined -16.3%.

Global's most popular stations - Heart Brand, Heart Network and Capital brand, all saw small gains this quarter, up 2.7%, 2.8% and 1.3%, respectively. However, it saw its biggest gain with Arrow which, though bottom of the rankings, made an impressive 24.2% recovery after suffering a -17.3% decline last quarter.

Global also saw strong performances from mid ranking stations Smooth Extra and Heart Extra. Smooth Extra increased its reach 21.3% this quarter and 42.1% year-on-year, whilst Heart Extra's reach increased 20.9% QoQ and is up 35.6% on this time last year.

Bauer Radio Total, second in the rankings, also had a strong quarter. It gained over 200,000 listeners last quarter to achieve a total reach of just under 18 million weekly listeners, up 1.2%.

Whilst Hits Radio Brand recorded a small -1.4% quarterly decline, Kiss Network and Absolute Radio Network both reported small uplifts of 1.9% and 4.2%, respectively.

Meanwhile, Bauer's new national station Hits Radio (formerly The Hits) is rapidly growing its reach, with just over 800,000 weekly listeners.

Like Global, Bauer saw QoQ declines in only a few of its 21 stations other than Hits Radio Brand: Absolute 80s (-1.5%), Planet Rock (-1.4%) and Kiss Fresh (-13.4%).

Outside of Bauer and Global, JazzFM had a positive quarter, up 13.7% QoQ and up 20.9% year-on-year. Elsewhere, talkSPORT recorded a significant decline this quarter of -7.2%, but was up 10.4% over the year.

However, BBC stations have continued to lose listeners this quarter, with nine of 13 stations recording declines.

BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 4 (including 4 Extra) and BBC Radio 1 saw declines of -3.1%, -3.3% and -2.4%, respectively, whilst only Radio 2 was able to record a small year-on-year uplift of 0.3%.

Share

In terms of share of listening, there were no upsets in the market in the second quarter of 2018.

Total Global Radio, the market leader, claims an impressive 20.3% share and recorded a 0.1 percentage point change on Q1. The network was down -0.3pp year-on-year.

Meanwhile, BBC Radio 2, maintaining second place, was up 0.3 percentage points QoQ to 17.9%, while Bauer Radio (Total) was also up 0.3pp to claim a 14.9% share of the market.

Radio 4 (including 4 Extra) claims a 12.9% share of listening with a -0.2pp drop.

The next largest shares belong to Heart Brand (UK) with a 6.7% share, Heart Network with 5.9%, and Capital Brand with 4.1%.

Average hours

They’ve been playing merry-go-round for the top spot, and in Q2 BBC Radio 2 once again took over from its sister station BBC Radio 4 (including 4 Extra) for average listening hours.

The station, home to popular hosts Graham Norton, Zoe Ball and Chris Evans, amongst many others, clocks up an average of 12.2 hours per listen – an impressive 4.3% boost from Q1.

Meanwhile, BBC Radio 4 (including 4 Extra) clocks up an average 11.9 hours per listener (a 0.8% rise), while digital-only BBC 6 Music was up 4.2% to 9.9 hours.

Elsewhere, there was no change this quarter for Total Global Radio and Bauer Radio (total), recording 8.8 hours and 8.6 hours, respectively.

Less positive news for Gold Network in Q2, which was down -6.1% to 7.7 hours, and Planet Rock, which seemed to have broken a few guitar strings following a -16.9% decline to 7.4 hours. The station was down -14% over the year.

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10 Dec 2018 

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