Rajar Q3 2010: TalkSport and Absolute give strong performances
UTV-owned national radio station TalkSport reached an average of 3 million listeners a week during the third quarter, its highest ever weekly reach, according to the latest Rajar figures.
TalkSport: records highest listening figures
Absolute Radio also increased its weekly reach and number of listening hours for both the core Absolute Radio station and the Absolute Radio network of stations, year on year and period on period.
During the period 28 June to 19 September 2010 TalkSport reached an average of 2.96 million people, up an impressive 19.6% year on year and 18.1% quarter on quarter.
TalkSport’s total number of listening hours, the metric used by media agencies when trading airtime, was its highest since the station began in 1995 at 21.99 million, up 12.3% year on year and 25.8% period on period.
Moz Dee, programme director of TalkSport, said: "We have the biggest audience in the history of the frequency as a commercial radio station. There was the washing out of the World Cup, and the beginning of the Premier League but the real growth is in week days.
"We’ve tried to build credibility and our sports journalism. We have really invested in content and the audience has responded."
The core Absolute Radio station had a weekly reach of 1.65 million in the third quarter of 2010, up 4.2% year on year and 4.2% quarter on quarter. It is the first time the station has increased its reach year on year since the station’s inception.
Absolute Radio rebranded from Virgin Radio in September 2008, following the purchase of the station by Times of India Group. The station’s loss of listeners and hours since the rebrand has been well documented.
The Absolute Radio station’s total number of listening hours also increased to 12.24 million, up 10.9% year on year and 4.1% quarter on quarter.
Following the expansion of its digital stations, including Absolute 80s and Absolute 90s, Absolute Radio has started using its total network figure, which also saw rises for both reach, to 2.40 million, and total hours, to 18.19 million.
Clive Dickens, chief operating officer of Absolute Radio, said: "The Absolute Radio network is at a four-year high in total hours [when compared with Virgin Radio] and in London we’re at a nine-year high.
"If you look at all our services, they’re all up quarter on quarter and year on year on the back of the World Cup,"
Both Absolute and TalkSport covered the Fifa 2010 World Cup with official rights and the Baddiel & Skinner shows respectively, and have rights to broadcast live commentary of the Barclays Premier League, with one and two packs respectively.
Dominic Woolfe, investment director at Publicis agency Starcom, said: "The best news is Absolute and Absolute have taken a long term view and invested in talent and programming. They didn’t take the easy way out and now they’re starting to see results. The key will be maintaining that over the next three or four Rajars."
BBC Radio 5 live, a key competitor for the two commercial stations, had a weekly reach of 6.30 million listeners, way ahead of TalkSport and Absolute Radio but down 1.5% year on year and 6.9% quarter on quarter.
The average total number of hours listeners tuned into BBC Radio 5 live was 49.57 million every week during the period, up 1.1% year on year but down 0.7% quarter on quarter.
This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk
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