So time again for the first of the four biggest days of the year, RAJAR data for the first quarter of 2012 went live this morning. It’s a mixed bag as usual but as always there are some interesting pieces to be gleaned from the wealth of data that the survey provides.
First, the headlines – the levels of listening to the radio overall has remained very stable since the last release, topping well over 46.6 million listeners in the average week. This is down on the equivalent period of 2011. Breaking this down slightly, listening to All BBC is down by 350,000 or so listeners and All Commercial up by roughly the same amount.
A trend commented on before at Quarter 1, but won’t be in great detail here, is the likely boost to DAB ownership following the Christmas period. 2012 is no different, the number of DAB owners has increased by 1.2 million from 20.9m in Q4 11 to 22.1m (43%) in Q1 2012. Listening online or via an app has also fared well this quarter and has added just under 500,000 listeners since last quarter alone. Amongst 15-24 the number of hours listened online have increased 14% since last quarter from 9.41 to 10.98 million. A calendar year after the launch of RadioPlayer at the end of March last year, and the increased availability of smartphones and apps, this platform may be taking off.
At a station level there are other interesting tales to tell. Hot from their recent successes at the Sony Radio Awards UK Station of the year, BBC Radio 6 Music has posted their highest audience so far with 1.454 million listeners tuning in. Another Sony winner, 107.6 Juice FM in Liverpool has also broken their audience record, reaching over 200,000 for the first time, that’s 21% of the population in a highly competitive marketplace, so competitive indeed that Liverpool’s Radio City 96.7 also picked up an award.
More Sony winners have had their successful evenings backed up with strong showings in today’s RAJAR. Radio Personality of the Year, Chris Evans, has confirmed his popularity amongst listeners with a near record audience of 9.232 million listeners, only bettered in his first quarter after succeeding Terry Wogan in Q1 2010.
In London, Kiss has built on their ‘Breakfast show of the year (10 million plus)’ and ‘Station Programmer of the Year’ awards and moved up from 4th to 3rd in the Commercial audience chart in London, at the expense of Heart who slip to 4th. Still top of the Commercial tree is Capital London who have retained their spot in terms of audience numbers they have held since Q2 11, when temporarily toppled by Magic 105.4. This time around Magic 105.4 has come second, holding the place from last quarter.
All in all, a strong start to the year for radio, particularly from some of those Sony winners. With an exciting 2012 ahead of us, let’s hope this is carried forward to the three remaining most important days of the year.