Rajar Q4 2018: national stations and networks

07 Feb 2019 
Rajar Q4 2018: national stations and networks

As Rajar releases its 2018 Q4 results for the radio market, Mediatel presents the key findings showing station and network reach, share and average listening hours.

Reach

For three consecutive quarters, Total Global Radio has experienced no change, holding firm with a weekly reach of just under 23.7m listeners across 15 national stations.

Some of the best performing Global stations include Heart Brand (up 0.8% quarter-on-quarter, and up 6.2% year-on-year), Smooth Brand (+0.3 QoQ and +7% YoY), and Classic FM (+2.4% QoQ and -6.4% YoY).

Despite the impressive run for Global – which, alongside other commercial broadcasters, helped reach record revenues last year of £700m – some of its stations witnessed declines in weekly reach.

Heart 80s was down -3.3% in Q4 2018; Gold Network down -5.9%; and Smooth Extra down -21.9%.

At the very bottom of the rankings, with a shrinking audience of just 45,000, the Arrow also continues to misfire for Global and was down -4.3% QoQ and -40% YoY.

Bauer Radio Total - second in the rankings - lost 228,000 listeners in the final quarter of 2019, down -1.3% to 17.9m listeners.

However, the network was up 0.9% year-on-year. Some of its biggest stations suffered end-of-year declines – including Hits Radio Brand (-4.3% QoQ) and Kiss Network (-3.2% QoQ).

However, gains were made by stations such as Magic (+7.1% QoQ) and Absolute Radio 90s (+6.1% QoQ).

Outside of commercial giants Bauer and Global, talkSPORT recorded no quarterly change to its 3 million listeners, while Wireless Group was up 3.4% to 4.8 million.

Elsewhere, the BBC’s Radio 2 was up 1.7% at the end of the year to reach almost 14.9 million weekly listeners – but was down -3.9% over the year.

Still, it can’t complain – the station remains a heavyweight of the broadcast world and ranks third by itself, but the loss of breakfast show host Chris Evans – who moved to Virgin at the start of 2019 – might make a dent in the next round of results.

Share

In terms of share of listening, the fourth quarter of 2018 saw no significant changes in the market.

Total Global Radio remains the market leader by a considerable margin, up 0.4 percentage points QoQ to claim a 20.8% share. The network grew its share 0.9pp across the year.

Maintaining second place, BBC Radio 2 saw its share grow 1.0pp in Q4 to reach 18.1%, while Bauer Radio (Total)'s share fell -0.2pp to 15.4% of the market.

Claiming a 12.7% share, Radio 4 (including 4 Extra) fell -0.2pp QoQ and -0.3pp YoY.

The next largest shares belong to Global’s Heart Brand (UK) with a 6.5% share, Heart Network with 5.7%, and BBC Radio 1 with 5.7%.

Average listening hours

BBC Radio 2 made it back to the top of the table in Q4, narrowly beating sister station Radio 4 (including 4 Extra) by an average of 30 minutes a week.

The stations ended 2018 with an average of 12.2 hours and 11.7 hours, respectively, marking a 1.7% growth for Radio 2 and a -2.5% decline for Radio 4.

Meanwhile, Global's LBC Network was up 1% QoQ to 9.9 hours, while Total Global Radio grew 1.1% to 8.9 hours.

Elsewhere, Bauer Radio (Total) recorded no change, remaining steady at 8.7 hours.

The worst performing stations included Bauer's Absolute Radio 90s and Mellow Magic, both down -12% QoQ to 4.4 hours, and Absolute Radio, down -10.1% to 7.1 hours.

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