The Radio Joint Audience Research body (Rajar) is to include details of radio listening through the Internet in its next quarterly survey results due on May 11.
The 150,000 consumers who fill out Rajar diaries – which are used to compile listening figures for the UK’s BBC and commercial national and local radio stations – are for the first time being asked about Internet usage.
Questions include where and how often the Internet is used, which radio station Websites are visited and how often stations are listened to over the Web. Rajar believes its survey will be the largest Internet study in the UK.
The move comes as the major radio groups are increasing investment in the Internet. Chrysalis, Capital Radio and GWR Group and Virgin Radio have all created online divisions.
The latest Rajar figures for the quarter ending December 19 1999, reveal the BBC has increased its lead over the commercial sector.
The BBC’s 51.3 per cent share of listening, up from 50.3 per cent for the previous quarter, compares with the commercial sector’s 46.7 per cent share of listening, down from 47.8 on the previous quarter.
Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) operations director Rachell Fox says the figures reflect a stable audience in a growing market.
BBC Radio 5 Live broke the 6 million listeners mark for the first time. Classic FM added 383,000 listeners to total more than 6 million, a 52.3 per cent share of the national commercial radio market.
TalkSPORT increased its share of listening from 1.8 per cent in the last quarter to 2.2 per cent, but the figures do not take in January’s station relaunch.
Virgin Radio’s share of listening fell from 2.2 per cent in the last quarter to 1.8 per cent. Atlantic 252’s share dropped from 0.9 per cent to 0.6 per cent, a reach of 1.5 million listeners. The station is expected to relaunch.