Thriving digital listening opens up new opportunities

 Kisstory: launched on DAB radio this year
Kisstory: launched on DAB radio this year

As this week's Rajar figures highlight digital listening hours are at an all-time high, up 6.4% (yoy), Simon Kilby, head of marketplace at Bauer Media, points to new commercial opportunities.

The growth in digital opportunities for advertisers is flourishing with over half of all radio listeners owning a DAB digital radio (52%). Crucially, UK digital radio listeners are 19% more likely to notice adverts on the radio than the average UK adult.

On top of this, the latest AA/WARC expenditure report predicted that radio ad spend will have an annual rise of 4.9% in 2015 – further signs that the industry is growing.

Within a year we’ll see the launch of a second commercial radio DAB multiplex (D2) from us at Bauer Media, Arqiva and UKTV, following a competitive bid, which will expand the UK radio portfolio far and wide, further highlighting how commercial radio is growing from strength to strength.

The new multiplex will support an extension in the choice of distinct national digital radio services available in the UK, offering consumers targeted channels for their ages and interests.

While this is of course brilliant news for us at Bauer Media and we’re excited to launch new stations on the multiplex, it is also great news for the radio industry as a whole – Ofcom recognised the need and demand to create more space for digital radio, a huge moment for the industry.

This proves radio's popularity and also creates the opportunity for the commercial radio industry to continue to extend its reach, opening up new potential for advertisers.

We hope that winning the bid for D2 will continue to drive our leadership in digital listening. Today’s figures show that nine out of the top ten commercial digital radio stations are Bauer Media brands (including Kisstory, which posted its record audience) and we continue to have the biggest commercial digital radio audience, increasing listeners to 9.8 million (+4.5% yoy).

We’re proud to lead digital listening in the UK – 51% of total Bauer Radio listening takes place via a digital device compared to the industry average of 40%.

Our understanding of radio audiences also continues to grow. The Rajar figures show that UK digital radio listeners tend to be younger than the average radio listeners, with 33% under 35. At Bauer, the proportion of digital listeners under 35 increases to 48%.

Being able to provide a detailed audience offering to advertisers is one of the reasons we implemented our new radio strategy at the beginning of the year.

This saw Magic launch nationally on DAB, Kisstory launch on DAB radio as well as the re-brand of our regional portfolio to the Bauer City Network (BCN). BCN allows advertisers to target three separate audiences, with each station split into three properties aimed at younger and older listeners in each region (BC1, 2 and 3).

We want to accelerate our lead in digital listening whilst still giving our listeners national and local offerings, but also making it easier for advertisers to access our targeted and engaged audiences.

This new strategy has been hugely successful, with this week’s figures showing the four key pillars – Magic Radio, KISS, Absolute Radio and Bauer City Network – all increasing reach and share year on year.

We hope to continue to develop the opportunities for advertisers on DAB radio, but also putting a greater focus on connected digital listening.

Absolute Radio is currently leading this with its innovative work with InStream, designed around the brand’s "logged-in and listening" model, allowing for a more targeted approach for both listeners and advertisers.

The future extension of InStream across the further Bauer Radio portfolio is a really exciting prospect. We’re also looking forward to the launch of D2, as well as extending our European leadership in the radio industry following the acquisition of Nordic broadcaster SBS Discovery Radio last month.

Having a presence in Norway, the first country to announce they will be turning off their FM radio service in 2017, is significant for us, and will help in our campaign to lead the digital switchover in the UK.

Working closely with advertisers and agencies as the relationship between radio and technology grows is of course of utmost importance.

The Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) launched two new apps this week, ROI Predict and Ad Finder, to help advertisers and agencies get the most out of radio advertising and show how radio advertising can exist as part of a wider media and creative campaign – this should only help in further growing the advertising spend in the industry.

We are only at the tip of the iceberg of the potential we have yet to unlock for radio. Watch this space.

Simon Kilby, Head of Marketplace, Bauer Media

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