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Rajar Q2 2019: National stations and networks

01 Aug 2019 
Rajar Q2 2019: National stations and networks

As Rajar releases its 2019 Q2 results for the radio market, Mediatel presents the key findings showing station and network reach, share and average listening hours

Reach

If ever there were a testament to the growing power of audio, commercial radio has once again smashed its own record and achieved its highest ever weekly reach during the second quarter of 2019.

Total Global Radio UK continues to top the league table, attracting just under 24 million weekly listeners across 15 national stations - an increase of 1.9% compared to Q1 and 1.2% compared to the same period last year.

Global saw its largest quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) gains with Gold Network UK (up 6% to 1.3m listeners), Heart Extra (up 7% to 503,000 listeners), The Arrow (up 50% to 84,000 listeners) and Classic FM, which grew 6.4% over the quarter to 5.6m listeners despite the launch of rival classical music station Scala earlier this year.

Of Global's stations, only Capital Network UK saw its weekly reach fall - down a marginal -0.1% QoQ to just under 7.2m.

In second place to Global, Bauer Radio (Total) grew its weekly reach 2.3% QoQ and 2.1% year-on-year (YoY) to nearly 18.1 million, coinciding with the launch of three new stations: Country Hits, Scala and Greatest Hits Radio.

Bauer's top three most popular stations all saw their weekly reach grow, with Hits Radio Brand, Kiss Network and Absolute Radio Network up 7%, 3.1% and 0.7%, respectively.

Bauer's worst performing station was Absolute Radio, down -11.3% QoQ and -15.4% YoY - the largest decline across all stations.

In more positive news, Bauer's Kisstory saw a QoQ rise of 25.9% to 2.3m listeners, while Magic Soul grew 20.5% QoQ to just under 350,000.

Coinciding with the launch of Chris Evans' new breakfast show, TalkSPORT's Virgin Radio rocketed 18.8% QoQ and an enormous 274.1% YoY to over 1.5m listeners.

Meanwhile, BBC stations fared less well during the second quarter of the year. The BBC's top two stations both recorded quarterly declines, with BBC Radio 2 down -5% QoQ to 14.6m and BBC Radio 4 (including 4 Extra) plummeting -3.1% to 11.1m.

Digital BBC 6 Music also took a hit, down -9.1% QoQ to under 2.3m.

However, Radio 1 achieved a 2.8% growth in its weekly reach over the quarter, up to just over 9.5m listeners, while BBC Radio 5 live (including sports extra) was up 2.5% to 5.7m.

Share of listening

Commercial radio also managed to achieve its highest share of listening in recent years in Q2 - nearly catching up with the BBC. The BBC's total share amounted to 49.3%, while commercial radio combined claimed a share of 48%.

Positions in the rankings remain steady, however, with Global continuing to take the largest share of any station at 21% - a 0.3pp increase on the previous quarter.

Despite seeing its share drop -1pp QoQ and -1.5pp YoY, BBC Radio 2 retains the second spot with a 16.4% share, while Bauer Radio (Total) saw its share increase 0.4pp both QoQ and YoY to 15.3%.

Meanwhile,BBC Radio 4 (including 4 Extra) recorded a decline in share of 0.8pp over the quarter to 11.1%, a 0.6pp drop compared to this time last year.

The next largest shares belong to Global's Heart Brand UK (6.5%), BBC Radio 1 (5.9%) and Bauer's Hits Radio Brand (5.2%).

Average hours per listener

BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 4 (including 4 Extra) both take top spot in the average hours per listener rankings for the second quarter of 2019, with both stations averaging 11.4 hours.

However, both stations recorded overall declines. Radio 2's hours dropped -1.7% over the quarter and -6.6% over the year, while Radio 4's fell -2.6% and -4.2%.

Elsewhere, Global's LBC moved back up to third place after recording no change in its average listening hours, holding steady at 9.6 hours, while digital-only BBC 6 Music dropped back to fourth following a -5.1% decline QoQ and YoY to 9.4 hours, a loss of 30 minutes per listener.

Like LBC, Total Global Radio (UK) saw no quarterly change to its listening hours and continues to total 8.9 hours per listener, a 1.1% growth over the year.

Meanwhile, Bauer Radio (Total) brought its average hours back up to 8.6 following a Q1 drop, a growth of 1.2% QoQ.

Virgin Radio has seen its listening hours nearly double since it brought on Chris Evans at the beginning of the year, growing its hours a further 8.3% during the second quarter to an average of 6.5 hours.

However, talkRADIO and Kisstory were among those to see the largest QoQ growth in hours (up 22.5% and 19.5%, respectively, to 4.9 hours each), while the worst performers include The Arrow (-58.8% QoQ to 3.5 hours), Virgin Chilled (-15.1% to 4.5 hours) and Absolute Radio 90s (-8.3% QoQ to 4.4 hours).


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