Digital radio listening surges to almost 40%

From a press release to
Posted 20 May 2015, 8.03pm edt

Matt Kieffer

  • Q1 2015 saw a strong surge in digital listening to almost 40% (39.6%) which means that share is up 8.2% year on year.
  • A record 54% of the UK population listens to radio via a digital platform each week.
  • Digital listening hours top 400 million (403 million) for the first time.
  • Strong growth for DAB to 25.9% (up 9.3%) and internet/apps to 6.8% (up 6.3%).
  • Nearly half of all UK households (49%) now have a digital radio set.
  • Digital listening in car grows 52%, to 16% of hours in-car.
  • Digital listening in London (ITV Region) has now overtaken analogue listening (46.8% vs. 46.2%).
  • BBC Radio 4 Extra reach grows 31% to become the number 1 digital-only station with 2.17 million listeners, overtaking BBC 6 Music.
  • Absolute 80s reach grows 36% to a new record 1.45 million listeners, the number 1 commercial digital-only station.
  • Analogue listening share reaches its lowest ever, at 54.3%, down 6.5% year on year.

Digital listening share reaches a landmark of almost 40% of all hours (39.6%), up 8.2% year on year, with 54% of UK listeners listening on a digital platform each week, according to Rajar Q1 2015 data released today. Digital hours now top a record 403 million each week, up 6.4% year on year.

DAB is the most popular platform with a 25.9% listening share, up 9.3% year on year. Listening via internet/apps has a 6.8% share (up 6.3% year on year) and DTV is 4.8% (down 4.2% year on year). Nearly 50% of the UK has a digital radio set at home (49%).

There has been strong growth of 52% of digital listening in cars (to 16% of in-car listening) due to car manufacturers’ decision to fit DAB in most new cars (64.9% CAP/SMMT March 2015). London is the most digital region, with digital listening overtaking analogue listening for the first time (46.8% vs 46.2% - ITV region).

The driving force behind the digital growth is the strong shift to digital listening across dual transmission stations and the growth of digital only stations. Digital listening has increased to 40.7% on BBC stations and to 38% on commercial stations. On national stations digital listening is 43.6% on BBC and 63% on commercial radio.

The leading dual transmission stations for digital listening are BBC World Service (75%), Absolute Radio (59%), Kiss (52%), Gold (49%), BBC Radio 5 live (47%) and BBC Radio 3 (45%).

The leading digital-only station is now BBC Radio 4 Extra, which increased reach by 31% to 2.17 million listeners, overtaking BBC Radio 6 Music which increased by 7.1% to 2.06 million listeners. BBC Radio 6 Music stayed ahead of BBC Radio 4 Extra in listening hours.

Bauer digital stations Absolute Radio 80s, Planet Rock and Kisstory all recorded record reach levels with 1.45 million, 1.24 million and 1.13 million listeners respectively.

Overall analogue listening declined to 54.3% (down 6.5%) and in-home analogue listening to 44.2% (down 6.2%), vs in home digital listening at 47.1% (up 4.6%).

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, says “The surge of digital listening to almost 40% share is a landmark moment for digital radio, and shows the achievability of the 50% listening criterion set by Government for a radio switchover. In the UK we are changing the way we listen to radio and you can see the shift to digital listening across dual transmission and digital stations. In London and in homes across the UK, listeners are choosing to listen to more radio on digital than on AM/FM, which demonstrates that radio’s future is definitely digital.”

More information

Digital Radio UK
Digital radio marketing body

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