Thursday, January 31, 2008

Radio audiences: we have a difference of opinion, Geoffrey

Proving, perhaps, that the RAJAR figures are so hard to navigate you can read into them what you wish, Digital Spy and report simultaneously on a 10% and 16.6% share of radio listening for Digital audiences. The discrepancy, of course, is because Digital Spy is quoting the figure for audiences listening on a DAB receiver, while MAD is looking at any digital platfrom.

The news isn't good for commercial digital broadcasters, though, as of the five largest ad-supported digital-only stations have had their audiences slip over the last quarter; of the big five only Heat managed an increase.

New owners of EMAP's old radio business, Bauer Radio, might be sucking a thoughtful tooth when they discover Q had displaced a quarter of its listenership between September and December.

Happily, a weak set of commercial results was balanced by strong figures for 6Music - edging ever closer to the magic half a million mark despite the new shouty-boy daytime schedule - 1Xtra and BBC7.

Back on old fashioned radio, Moyles is closing in on Terry Wogan - now just 420,000 listeners shy of his breakfast rival. Although Moyles has been doing the show four years now; at this rate Wogan's going to be dead before he catches him.

London's always diverting battle sees Capital continuing to languish in the area it once dominated; Heat and Magic are both the biggest radio stations now depending on if you care about reach or share. They'll take some comfort in that the gap between them and Kiss is a little wider - 90,000 listeners compared with 10,000 this time last year - although 'victory in the battle to avoid dropping to fourth place' isn't much of a song to sing to the shareholders.

They might be feeling a little vindicated, though, looking at XFM's performance year-on-year: their share of total listening in London hasn't shifted - 1.3% - but the size of the audience has nudged up from 479,000 to 513,000. Killing off presenters has brought in more listeners.

All year-on-year comparisons, by the way, are effectively valueless as RAJAR changed it methodology in Summer 2007.