Radio influence grows for UK advertisers

The latest Rajar results show the UK radio industry to be in great shape and should serve as a great wake-up call to advertisers, says Simon Kilby, head of marketplace at Bauer Media.

1)    The stats

speak for themselves – radio is still a crucial part of our day to day lives. 89% of the population tune into the radio every week and on average, we each listen to 21.4 hours of radio per week.

2)    The radio industry is vast, but media owners are working hard to provide simplified options for advertisers. From a Bauer perspective, our newly announced national radio strategy sees each of our local stations in the Place portfolio being split into three properties, with individual streams geared towards both the younger and older audiences, as well as the central station. We’ve done this to offer advertisers options which are simple and scalable.


3)    The digital radio sector is booming and continues to grow, with 38% of all UK radio listening now done via a digital platform. These changing times are evidenced by the success of digital stations such as BBC Radio 6 Music, which recorded its biggest ever audience and extended its lead over BBC Radio 3. Absolute Radio 80s is close to matching the listening figure for the main Absolute Radio station, something that would have been unimaginable a few years ago.

4)    This expanding digital radio sector opens up a new premium target group for advertisers. Digital radio listeners tend to be younger than the average radio listener, are more likely to belong to the ABC1 group and earn on average 7% more than the average UK adult. Perhaps most interestingly, they are 19% more likely to notice adverts on the radio – a huge advantage and a statistic that should not be ignored.


5)    National brands continue to grow and dominate the radio landscape, which also helps shape the proposition for advertisers. Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen the expansion of brands such as KISS, with Kisstory, and Capital, with Capital Xtra. At Bauer, we will continue to focus on the growing success of Absolute Radio, Magic and KISS, especially with the announcement that Magic will be going national from the start of next year. Kisstory is another success story – such is its popularity with listeners that it will now be launching onto DAB digital radio across several cities in the UK.

When this is all taken into account, it doesn’t make sense to me that only 6% of marketing budgets are spend on radio as a medium. There is a great of work being done within the industry to ensure advertisers have clearer positions to invest, making sure they are reaching their target audience in the right way. The expansion of the digital radio market only helps with this, giving advertisers a wider choice of stations and access to a premium group of listeners. Maybe 2015 will be the year that radio is finally recognised in the advertising world for the influential mainstream position it holds with the UK public?

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