SMG joins attack on Rajar radio figures
Friday 30 January 2004
SMG's Virgin Radio refused to accept official listening figures published yesterday which showed a collapse in audience.
But the results for the fourth quarter of last year from Rajar, an industry body, brought good news for Capital Radio, which saw its flagship 95.8 FM regain top spot in the London market, from Chrysalis' Heart station. Elsewhere, Emap's Kiss station in London lost ground, while the figures for GWR were broadly flat.
Virgin Radio's market share in London, where it has an FM licence, collapsed to 1.8 per cent from 2.6 per cent previously, breaking an improving trend seen through the last few quarters. Listening hours dropped 32 per cent from the third quarter, while the number of listeners fell 16 per cent over the period.
The news comes at a difficult time for Virgin's owner, SMG, which is seen as a break-up target. SMG, led by chief executive Andrew Flanagan, has just had to sell off its 28 per cent stake in its rival Scottish Radio Holdings to relieve debt pressure. Analysts said the Rajar figures would dent the value of Virgin Radio.
Callum Spreng, SMG's corporate affairs director, said: "I don't think this [fourth-quarter result] reflects the true performance [of Virgin]. It is contrary to our own independent research and to our ad-hoc feedback."
He pointed out that the line-up of presenters or the music had not changed between the third and fourth quarters of last year. He said that Rajar's sample under-represented the 15-34 age group that was a large part of Virgin Radio's target market.
Capital Radio shares closed up 4 per cent to 548p after the Rajar results showed its market share in London for its 95.8 FM station had recovered to 7.8 per cent, from 7.0 per cent last quarter and, crucially, ahead of Heart once more, which eased back slightly. Heart had dramatically overtaken Capital in the third quarter.
David Mansfield, the Capital chief executive, said: "They [Heart] have had their moment in the sunshine... this is a good way to say goodbye to Chris Tarrant and welcome Johnny Vaughan."
The all-important breakfast show on Capital 95.8 will see star host Chris Tarrant replaced by Mr Vaughan later this year. Richard Menzies-Gow, an analyst at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, pointed out that 95.8 FM had a long way to go. "It is still well down on its 8.9 per cent share two quarters ago or its 10.3 per cent only six quarters ago," he said.
- 2 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Cee Lo Green: It is only rape if the victim is conscious
Perez Hilton apologises for publishing Jennifer Lawrence naked 4Chan photos
Emma Watson on Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak: 'Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated is reading the comments'
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say representatives
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Katie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge: ‘I hate fat people for making me do this’
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £45000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Front-Of...
£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Developer C++, Python, STL, R, PD...
£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Java/Calypso Developer Java, Calypso, J2EE, J...
£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer SQL, C#, Stored Procedures, MDX...