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KISSTORY IN THE MAKING? Q2 2010 proved to be a great quarter for radio, with listening surging to the highest level for more than a decade. An average of 46.8m adults tuned in each week over the period, which included the general election and the World Cup, equating to 90.6% of the UK population (up from 46.3m YOY). This is the highest weekly reach for UK radio listening since Rajar introduced its current research methodology in 1999. Commercial Radio was the driving force behind these numbers, with increases in all three key areas of reach, share of listening and hours. Conversely, the BBC actually saw declines in each of these areas from the last quarter, yielding a jump in Commercial Radio’s share, up from 41.3% last quarter to 43.2% – its highest share since September 2007. This period Commercial Radio achieved the largest reach since the new survey began reporting in June 2007, with both YOY and QoQ rises of 2.8% and 2.2% respectively- a weekly reach of 32.9m. Listening hours were also up YOY by 1.3%, with the biggest jump being from last quarter (up 6.4%).

National Classic FM remains the largest commercial station, and continued their positive results from last quarter by adding 3% reach and 4% hours this quarter. Talksport recovered from a big drop in hours last quarter with a gain of 7%, however, this is still down 3% YoY – it will be interesting to see results next quarter which will include the remainder of the World Cup matches. Talksport’s hours have increased however, up 5.9% QoQ. Absolute has finally seen a change in the right direction, with increases in both reach (+13.7% QoQ) and hours (+6.5% QoQ). Reach is still down 6.2% YoY but hours have increased 4% YoY, which is great news. With a number of accolades at the Sony Radio awards including Gold for Digital Station of the Year for Planet Rock, Gold for Best Live Event Coverage for the Blur reunion, Silver for Best Entertainment Programme (Jeremy Skinner) and Bronze for Christian O’Connell for Music Radio Personality of the Year, we’d expect to see continued positive results. The addition of Absolute 80s and improved results from Absolute Classic Rock have now taken the Absolute Radio Network to over 2 million listeners.

London Magic and Heart both beat the 2m reach mark this quarter. Capital came in a close third, narrowly missing 2m listeners at 1.9m. Magic have now broken the 2m barrier in 6 out of the last 9 quarters; and since 2005 none of the competition had been able to break it, until now. However, the real winner in London this quarter was Sony Gold Station of the Year winner Kiss 100, who saw their highest ever total hours; up 11.8% YOY and a monstrous 41.6% from last quarter. This amazing result was driven largely by the Kiss breakfast show which saw a 37.7% rise in reach QoQ, bringing Kiss to within just 150,000 of the magical 2m listener mark. After a strong result last quarter, Capital will be disappointed to drop to 5th place in terms of share, behind Magic, Kiss, Heart and LBC. Magic 105.4 takes first place, with Kiss continuing to surprise with fantastic results this quarter coming in at 2nd place. LBC also had a really strong result, with Heart beating them to third place by only .1 of a percentage point. Johnny and Lisa retain the title of number one London breakfast show (6-10am) once again, with 1.1m listeners tuning in; however this reach figure is actually down both QoQ and YoY (3.6% & 3.0% respectively). Jamie and Harriet on Heart 106.2 (6-9am) came in second with a 15.9% boost in reach QoQ bringing them within 200,000 listeners of the crown. A brilliant result from the Kiss 100 (6-9am) breakfast team (+37.7% QoQ) sees them coming in to third place in the battle, a mere 22,000 listeners away from second place. Although Neil Fox’s Magic 105.4 breakfast show saw a 7% increase in listeners this quarter, it has slipped to fourth place.

ILRs Commercial Radio now delivers 26.7m listeners on a local level compared to BBC’s 9.1m for local and regional services. It was good news all round for the local networks with increases in hours and reach across the board, bar a slight drop in reach for Magic AMs. The Big City Network have continued to grow both reach and hours this quarter with increases QoQ of 5% and 2% respectively. But after last quarter’s flat results it’s the Heart Network who have built up some steam and seen increases of 6% in reach and 3% in hours.

The star of this quarter is the Galaxy Network, with 14% growth YoY in terms of reach and 8% increase in hours. While the Kiss Network saw a QoQ increase of 16% in hours. GMG networks Smooth and Real have made up for small drops last quarter by reporting increases of 6% and 5% in reach and 3% and 1% in hours.

Digital Digital listening increased slightly YoY to 24.6%, with listening on all digital platforms (apart from unspecified) increasing slightly; DAB share of listening is still the highest at 15.8%. Claimed DAB ownership continues to steadily grow, up 2.3 percentage points to 35.3%. The top 2 digital stations The Hits and Smash Hits Radio continue to do very well in the digital only market, with 1.1m listeners tuning in to The Hits and Smash Hits almost hitting 1m. Sony Digital Radio Station of the Year, Planet Rock takes third position achieving quarter on quarter growth of 3.5% and now reaching 718,000 listeners. Mobile Phone listening is now up to 12.5%, with almost 30% of 15-24s claiming to listen in this way. Many radio stations are now providing smartphone apps to enhance the mobile phone listening experience, with 20% of all Smartphone owners saying they have a radio app. Absolute Radio alone had 3 million podcasts downloaded in June, driven largely by Baddiel and Skinners World Cup coverage.

Notable Movements (Hours QoQ) Kiss 100 (+ 41.6%) For more information please contact Arum Nixon.

MediaVest's Q2 2010 Rajar Analysis  
MediaVest's Q2 2010 Rajar Analysis  

MediaVest UK's review of the Q2 2010 Rajar results for the UK radio industry