Today (5th March), Bauer Media has announced its fourth acquisition in UK radio by buying UKRD, which owns and operates 10 local commercial radio stations spread across England. This purchase includes Wessex FM, Eagle Radio, KLFM, Minster FM, Mix 96, Pirate FM, Yorkshire Coast Radio, Spire FM, Spirit FM and Stray FM. It also has business interests in DAB multiplexes and First Radio Sales.
This follows Bauer’s recent purchases of Lincs FM, Celador Radio and Wireless Group’s local radio stations in early February. These acquisitions mean that the group has now closed the gap in terms of market share with Global Radio who represent 48% of all commercial radio in the UK.
This is very good news for Bauer, their aggressive growth strategy appears to have paid off.
Why is share so important? Advertisers (large advertisers in particular) buy radio based on the cost-per-thousand people their ads reach. So, the figure that matters most isn’t the number of radio stations you own, or even how many people that listen to them — it’s the total listening hours your group has. Here scale is important.
With 70% of advertising being from National advertisers and only 30% being Local (who mostly deal direct with individual stations) it is clear that the larger your share the stronger contender you will be to take revenue from national advertisers.
It is not all plain sailing, Bauer recent purchase, Lincs FM, Celador Radio and Wireless Group’s local radio stations, will run in Hold Separate until the Competition and Markets Authority completes an investigation. This is not uncommon, Global entered a similar state when buying GMG Radio – with that process lasting almost two years.