Digital listening increases in the UK

By James Cridland for
Posted 17 May 2017, 11.12pm edt

James Cridland

Digital listening - to radio through DAB, DTV and IP - has grown in the UK to 47.2% of all radio listening, according to new figures from RAJAR released today.

DAB continues to deliver the lion's share of this listening, at 33.8% of all radio listening. Online remains four times smaller, at just 8%, while digital television is responsible for 5.5% of all radio listening.

Confounding those who believe that online linear streaming radio is the future, online listening has increased year-on-year by just 0.2%, well within the margin of error. TV listening remains static. DAB's listening has grown by almost three percentage points.

Industry group Digital Radio UK say that there are now ten areas of the UK who have over 50% digital listening, including London, Herts/Beds/Bucks, Leeds and Bristol. Nottinghamshire is the most digital area of the UK, with 55.7% of radio listening happening on a digital platform. Three different age categories are also over 50% digital listening.

The 50% figure is important for the industry, since when the country as a whole hits 50% digital listening, the government will then decide whether to start switching off FM for large stations.

87% of new cars are now fitted with DAB as standard, and total digital listening has grown 33% year-on-year. In-car listening now accounts for 23.5% of all radio listening.

Ford Ennals, the CEO of Digital Radio UK, was quoted as saying "We look forward to the acheivement of the 50% listening threshold set by Government, and working with the industry to determine a clear road map for radio's digital future".

Norway has already started switching off FM for large stations, while a number of other countries have expressed a wish to transition to DAB.

More information

Digital Radio UK
Digital radio marketing body
James Cridland — James runs, and is a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. He also publishes a free daily newsletter about podcasting, Podnews, and a weekly radio trends newsletter.