Rajar Q1 2011: Kiss reports record reach after national roll-out
Kiss, Bauer Media's dance station, performed strongly in its first quarter as a national station, recording its highest ever national reach in what proved to be a strong quarter for most national commercial stations.
Kiss 100 Breakfast presenters Rickie, Melvin and Charlie
According to Rajar figures for the first three months of 2010, the Kiss network, which switched to a national service on 24 December 2010, had a weekly reach of 4.1 million.
It represented a dramatic 19.7% lift year-on-year, and 3.1% rise quarter-on-quarter.
Kiss had a total of 21.4 million listening hours a week, the metric media agencies use when trading radio, in the first quarter (defined as 3 January to 27 March) up 25.3% year-on-year and 1.1% quarter-on-quarter.
Steve Parkinson, managing director of Bauer Radio, celebrated the national roll-out of Kiss talent and content, and also credited successful on-air promotions and expansion onto new platforms.
Parkinson said: "Now we can take our biggest names, such as the breakfast presenters Rickie, Melvin and Charlie, to the whole country. And if we have stars like Jessie J in London, we can take her to the whole network, to Bristol and the East of England."
During the same period, TalkSport, the UTV Media-owned national station, recorded its highest-ever weekly reach since the launch of Talk Radio in 1995. It boasted an average of 3.2 million listeners, up 37% year-on-year and 5.2% quarter-on-quarter.
Scott Taunton, managing director (GB) of UTV Media, said: "Having got three Gold awards at the Sonys on Monday night, it has been a great week. The addition of [former Sky Sports presenters] Keys and Gray have helped but we've also seen growth across the board."
Though TalkSport's total hours declined 9.3% when compared with the final three months of 2010 to 22.2 million, the figure was up 36.1% from the first three months of 2010. Taunton said: "I don't think it was anything too significant."
Classic FM, owned by Global Radio, had a very strong quarter and reported a weekly reach of 6.1 million, up 10.4% from the same period of 2010 and up 6.4% quarter on quarter. Classic FM's had 40.9 million hours a week, up 10.5% year on year and equalling the final quarter of 2010.
Absolute Radio's core station had a weekly reach of 1.4 million in the first three months of 2011, down 0.1% year-on-year but up 1.4% period on period, recovering from a disappointing result in Q4 2010.
The station reported a total of 10.5 million hours, down 5.3% year-on-year but up 10.5% quarter-on-quarter.
Clive Dickens, chief operating officer at Absolute Radio, said: "We had a challenging Rajar in quarter four but almost all the losses have returned in quarter one. Quarter one was an aberration in London.
"We're back to where we were in quarter three where people said we were doing well."
The Absolute Radio network, which includes the broadcaster's digital stations such as Absolute Classic Rock, faired better, increasing its reach and hours both compared with the first three months of 2010 and the final three months of 2010.
Dickens said the growth of Absolute Radio's network was important because 75% of the broadcaster's revenue is booked across all of its services rather than just the main station.
He said: "We want to see Absolute Radio increase as well but our overall hours are bigger than when we were Virgin."
The biggest increase in reach year-on-year of any of the national commercial stations or networks went to Absolute 80s with a rise of 136.4% to 624,000, though it was down 6.2% from the final three months of 2010.
GMG Radio-owned Smooth Radio, which became a national station in March 2010, had a weekly reach of 3.1 million in the first three months of 2011, up 16.9% year on year and exactly the same reach as the final three months of 2010.
Global Radio’s Heart network had an average weekly reach of 7.4 million, up 1% year-on-year but down 4% quarter-on-quarter. However, Heart's total hours slid to 51.5 million, down 11.3% year-on-year and 10.9% quarter-on-quarter.
Magic, Bauer Media's easy listening network, had an average weekly reach of 3.8 million, up 1% year-on-year but down 3.1% quarter-on-quarter. The Magic network had a total of 23.8 million hours, down 3.6% year-on-year and 8.9% from Q4 2010.
Bauer Media’s digital stations performed well. Heat had a weekly audience of 626,000, up 40% on the year and 12.4% quarter-on-quarter, while The Hits continued to be largest purely digital commercial station with an audience of 1.1 million, up 8.2% year-on-year and 1.6% quarter-on-quarter.
Jazz FM recorded its highest ever audience reach as a digital only station with an average of 495,000 listeners a week, and highest every listening hours at a total of 2.1 million a week.
This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk
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