Bauer's Karen Stacey talks about the next chapter of Kiss

Karen Stacey, head of broadcast sales at Bauer Media, talks about the evolution of the Kiss brand.

Karen Stacey: head of broadcast sales at Bauer Media
Karen Stacey: head of broadcast sales at Bauer Media

At Bauer Media we firmly believe in the mantra that audiences drive content. Audiences engage with our brands and regularly connect with them through conversations sparked by their own interests. These conversations involve people. Real people – readers and listeners with opinions and experiences. People that connect, inspire, talk and engage with our brands.

By providing daily engaging content, our listeners and readers ultimately become brand advocates, they share our content and it gains a life of its own through ever-adapting social media and online platforms. This is fantastic news for advertisers who can use these ever-developing and shifting relationships to tap into relevant and engaged audiences who are receptive to brand messages and (in most cases) embrace it.

Obviously, to fully understand our audiences insight is paramount.

As a great recent example, last year we carried out extensive research into the Kiss audience, including employing specialist research agency Youth Conspiracy to drill even further with a project called Kiss Tomorrow. This was a qualitative project examining the opinions of 11- to 24-year-olds to focus on key taste makers and what they think the radio and digital future looks like. It involved the creation of mood diaries and "Gonzo"- style immersion sessions with young people and their friends to create a series of "Portals", which Kiss can use as a roadmap to future proof our consumer offering.

We already knew from Rajar that Kiss continues to beat all other commercial stations for reach of 15 to 24, 15 to 34 and 15- to 44-year-olds, which was a great start. Kiss audiences are very much the "now generation" – they seek immediacy and require instant gratification and responses.

By mining all this new insight, embracing the creative genius of our Kiss programming teams and listening to our very vocal online audiences, we knew that it was exactly the right time to launch two brand new digital radio stations, Kisstory and Kiss Fresh! Our Kiss Group programming director, Andy Roberts, has always said that just because you are in the position to put content everywhere, it doesn’t mean that you should.

Twitter told us on a daily basis that we have a dedicated Kisstory audience who were crying out for more and we also knew that we wanted to nurture our youth audience and give them even greater access points to Kiss.

Interestingly, looking at radio as a whole, DAB listening reaches 32% of listeners with digital TV reaching 16% and internet 13%. Unsurprisingly, among Kiss listeners those figures are a lot higher, with 51% saying they listen via digital TV, 34% via the internet, and DAB at 28%. What is really interesting though is the difference in mobile phone listening.

Amongst all radio listeners, 9% say that they listen to the radio via their mobile at least once a week. Amongst Kiss listeners in our survey, that figure was a massive 50% (45% smart phone/5% standard phone).

Further proof of the paradigm shift in young people's listening is that 17% of Kiss listeners actually said that listening via mobile was the method they used "most often". Research also told us that a massive 56% said they had downloaded the Kiss app for their smartphone.

As audiences can now take Kiss with them wherever they go, as opposed to being tied to a fixed point, we have found different patterns of listening occurring. When we asked listeners when they usually listen to their app, the most popular answer was "Throughout the day" (34.5%) followed by "Anytime, it doesn’t matter" (34%).

So, we are hugely excited to be launching two new Kiss stations this week as a result of all this audience insight. KissFresh is available 24 hours a day on the Kiss Player via desktops, smartphones and tablets. It's also available through the new Kiss Kube iOS app on tablets and mobile.

Our new Kisstory station is now available on Freeview TV (channel 714), and via the new Kiss Player and Kiss Kube iOS app. The new Kiss Kube iOS app also launches soon and will let you listen live to Kiss FM UK, Kissstory and KissFresh!

These launches are part of the next important chapter for one of the UK's most famous media brands and an understanding of the audience sits right at its heart. 

Karen Stacey, head of broadcast sales, Bauer Media

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