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Record listening figures for The Archers

Monday 16 May 2011, 12:37

Keri Davies Keri Davies Web Producer, The Archers

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Rajar document

The Archers attracted a record number of listeners in the first quarter of 2011.

The most recent report from RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) has just been published, covering January to March. The average 'weekly reach' of the lunchtime episode was 2.49 million, and of the programme overall 5.01 million. This means that in a average week in that quarter, over 5 million people listened to The Archers at some time in the week.

These are the highest figures for The Archers since the current system of measurement was introduced in 1996. They are for over-15s in the UK and do not include listening via podcast and online via Radioplayer (formerly iPlayer), so the actual total audience will be even higher.

RAJAR also reported record listening figures for BBC Radio 4 overall, whose weekly reach was 10.8 million.

(The original version of this post incorrectly quoted the weekly reach as 5.1 million. Corrected with our apologies 19 May.)

(Further clarification 14 June: The lunchtime listening figure of 2.49 million is a record, not the the weekly reach of 5.01 million. Thanks to the listeners who queried this.)

Keri Davies is an Archers (and Ambridge Extra) scriptwriter and web producer.

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    Comment number 1.

    Well done Archers team! That's fantastic!

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    Comment number 2.

    I am also delighted - shame you can't see the figures for online listening (which is how I get my fix)! Look forward for the continued reverberations from Nigel's death in future SL's too.

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    Comment number 3.

    Are these the mean weekly figures? How many listeners were there in the first week of the quarter?

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    Comment number 4.

    Well, I hope these figures cheer you up, Keri and co., and are some compensation for the fact that high profile commentators such as Wendy Cope and Gillian Reynolds seem to have gone off the show!

    I hardly ever listen to it myself these days, either---maybe once or twice a week.

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    Comment number 5.

    Q2 figures due out in August may give a better idea of the underlying trend. Interesting to see how nobody from the BBC cares to give any details about the spread of figures across the quarter. Plus, we have this whole issue about listeners to the news at 7pm being logged as Archers listeners. I'd love to know what the figures are for the 15 minutes from 10:30 to 10:45 on a Sunday morning, compared to how they were in previous quarters. Shall have to dig out detailed RAJAR figures from one of my colleagues in radio.

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    Comment number 6.

    Keri, is the figure of 5.1 million a mistake? Gwyneth Williams' blog says 5.01 million.

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    Comment number 7.

    >Keri, is the figure of 5.1 million a mistake? Gwyneth Williams' blog says 5.01 million.

    Sorry, that's my typo. I'll correct it straight away.

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    Comment number 8.

    Thanks. I notice you haven't replied to my question at #3 !
    Further, what were the weekly listening figures for Q1 - Q4 of 2010? In particular, is it true that the figure for Q2 was 5.05 million?

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    Comment number 9.

    I'm surprised by news of the increase in the viewing figures. Perhaps people who like East Enders are tuning in. From the horrible despatch of Nigel to the recent ludicrous overreaction by Elizabeth and the introduction of the ghastly Ambridge Extra, The Archers is beginning to emulate the BBC soap so faithfully (noisy, far-fetched and dysfunctional - I thought it was supposed to be based around farming)that I would not be surprised to hear that Dot Cotton has moved Jim into The Laurels and has taken up residence at the bar in The Bull while Nick is ensconced in nearby Felpersham with Clive Horrobin. Sadly, after 50 years of listening I'm sorely tempted to pack it in. After an earful of Elizabeth's histrionics I am not inclined to return.(What the h*ll has happened to the writing (and the acting)?? Seems to me Keri et al would be quite happy to see off the older listeners...)What a shame.

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    Comment number 10.

    >Are these the mean weekly figures?

    Yes, my understanding is that it's a mean of all the individual weekly reach figures in that quarter.

    >How many listeners were there in the first week of the quarter?

    Sorry, I don't have access to individual week's figures. I can find the

    >Further, what were the weekly listening figures for Q1 - Q4 of 2010?
    We're normally given the last equivalent quarter and the previous quarter, so I've got Q1: 4.94m and Q4: 4.88m.

    >In particular, is it true that the figure for Q2 was 5.05 million?
    Sorry, I don't have that figure, but I think it's unlikely given that we have been told that the 5.01m is a record figure - what is your source for it?

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    Comment number 11.

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    Comment number 12.

    Keri - invisiblepuddle answered your question. Any comment?

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    Comment number 13.

    The premise of this blog was initiated on an incorrect figure. The Q2 2010 figure of 5.05 million is the highest reach in recent times, and this figure as reported in the press must have been obtained from the BBC. None of the recent figures include the non-live numbers, as Keri notes, but these do not warrant undue weighting in any given quarter. Given the small but steady annual rise in overall R4 listening of 7.9% last year, I would have thought the current TA annual increase of approx 1.4% is if anything slightly disappointing.

    Russ

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    Comment number 14.

    Well, Russ......and answer came there none?
    What a surprise that is!






    Not.

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    Comment number 15.

    I'm awfully sorry, I've only just seen Russ's reply. I'll ask for a response.

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    Comment number 16.

    Well, that was quick. I based the post above on a blog post by the Controller of Radio 4, Gwynneth Williams:

    http://bbc.in/itPHAv

    which included this:

    "UPDATE 2pm, May 12th: I have more news on this record quarter - and all credit to Radio 4's production teams. We have record listening figures for the following: comedy programmes across the week (5.22 million), our drama throughout the week (7.1 million), The Archers (2.49 million for lunchtime listening and 5.01million across the week); You and Yours with 3.33 million - and along with her Sony Gold Special Award, Jenni Murray and the Womans Hour team can celebrate a record listening figure of 3.56million across the week."

    It transpires that the record figure here was for the lunchtime listening of 2.49 million, not for weekly reach of 5.01 million.

    Sorry for the confusion.

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    Comment number 17.

    I can't help thinking there must be a small comedy programme in all of this - an everyday story of RAJAR stats sheet-filling folk, and the overwrought reactions of producers and station heads scrabbling among the figures in an effort to 'pump up the volume'.

    Russ

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    Comment number 18.

    Thanks for the clarification Keri.

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    Comment number 19.

    ... and do not include listening via podcast and online via Radioplayer (formerly iPlayer), so the actual total audience will be even higher

    Correct conclusion, Keri, but your premise is incorrect. RAJAR figures are for live-listening, so do include online live listening. What the RAJARs do not cover is online time-shifted (catchup) listening. (And the podcasts, as you note.) The podcasts are currently running at 0.91m downloads per month (for the daily version), say 0.23m per week, and 0.15m per month, say 36k per week, for the omnibus. It's debatable whether the podcast figures should be regarded as additional or supplementary to the main figures. The non-podcast time-shifted element is significant though - approximately 10% of all R4 current listening is online, and approximately 57% of that 10% is time-shifted - if those overall R4 proportions are applied to TA, then the real current TA reach is probably in the region of 5.5m to 5.6m, and maybe say 5.7m to 5.8m if the podcasts are included.

    Russ

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    Comment number 20.

    Thanks for that, Russ. Most enlightening!

 

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