Rajar Q4 2015: Industry reaction

05/02/2016

As Rajar publishes its fourth quarter results for the radio market, Newsline presents analysis of the findings from Carat.

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Mike Wood, A/V account manager, Carat

The main story from a neutral perspective is that the Rajars were always going to be the first published figures of Radio X since its high-profile re-launch from XFM back in September. An increase in listening was never in question given the move to the national DAB1 platform and big marketing push.

The reach of 1.23m marks a record for the station, whilst listening hours (6.9m) are at an eight-year high. That said, a 284k YoY weekly listener increase (+30%) amidst all this doesn't look too amazing when you consider that LBC London News has shown a 93% YoY (235k) increase and Capital Xtra an +44% (359k) increase.

Neither of those had the marketing hype and indeed, LBC London News doesn't even have FM coverage in London let alone a national DAB outlet.

However, it's important to bear in mind that Radio X's figures are based on a half yearly average so these figures do include some of XFM's data. The next quarter's results will give a truer reflection on Radio X's performance against XFM.

Looking at the market as a whole, commercial radio now reaches more listeners in a week than the BBC. With a number of new commercial stations coming to air over the next few months and providing greater listener choice, don't be surprised if this remains the case for the foreseeable future.

It is worth noting that the new stations are more likely to provide competition to existing commercial services than they are to current BBC services.

As these new stations won't necessarily be reported in the next Rajar, it will not come as a shock if existing commercial stations see a drop in hours and reach on account of people tuning in to these new services. This may lead to commercial radio being slightly under-represented in the next round of figures.

Digital listening hours are pretty flat on the last quarter but up 10% year on year. The likes of Magic, Kiss and Gold all have a majority of their listeners tuning in via digital (it should be noted that not all areas in the UK can pick up these stations via any other means).

With the new multiplex launch later this month, and the recent announcement that DAB radio is now standard in 80% of new cars, these numbers are only going to keep rising for the next few surveys.

This article first appeared on Mediatel: Newsline on 05/02/16

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