RAJAR Q2/14: Analogue listening falls to lowest ever

From a press release to
Posted 30 July 2014, 8.57pm edt

  • Radio listening to analogue stations has fallen to its lowest ever share at 56.6% in Q2 2014, down from 58.6% year on year.
  • In home, analogue listening share has now fallen to 45.6% from 48.4% in Q2 2013, and is nearly equal with digital listening share (45.1%).
  • Unattributed listening (digital/analogue) has increased from 4.6% to 6.6% year on year.
  • Digital radio listening share remains flat at 36.8% year on year.
  • DAB share continues to show growth quarter on quarter and year on year and remains the most popular platform for digital listening with a 24.1% share (over 65% of all digital listening hours), with hours up 1% year on year to 247 million.
  • Radio listening online or via apps increased share to 6.2%, up by 2% year on year, while listening on digital TV declined to 4.8%, a decrease in hours of 10% year on year.
  • In-car listening now accounts for 22% of radio listening hours, and a record 11.7% of hours are now listened to on digital, up 12% year on year, supporting DAB growth.
  • 48.5% of the population or 26 million adults now have access to a DAB digital radio, up 7% year on year.
  • BBC 6 Music is the largest digital-only station with 1.89 million listeners a week. It has now overtaken BBC Radio 3 which now has 1.88 million listeners.
  • Absolute 80s is the largest digital-only commercial station with 1.24 million listeners each week. There were strong performances in commercial digital listening hours from national networks Kiss, Heart and Smooth.

Analogue radio listening share is now at its lowest ever, according to Rajar Q2 2014 listening figures released today. Analogue now accounts for 56.6% of all listening hours, down from 58.6% in Q2 2013.

Digital listening remains flat year on year at 36.8%, but unaccounted for listening has increased from 4.6% to 6.6%. In the last 12 months, digital-only stations have consolidated their overall listening but not shown strong growth. Over half of the population (51.4% of the UK or 27.5 million people) now listens to digital radio platforms each week.

DAB remains the most popular platform for digital listening, with 237 million hours, up 1% year on year. DAB listening growth has been driven by the increase of DAB listening in-car.

Online/apps listening hours are up 2% year on year and radio listening on digital TVs declined by 10% , coinciding with changes to electronic programme guide (EPG) layouts.

Ownership of DAB digital radios continues to grow with 48.5% of the population or 26 million adults now having access to a DAB digital radio, up 7% year on year.

In-car listening accounts for 22% of listening hours, and a record 11.7% of hours are now listened to on digital, up 12% year on year. 6.7 million people now listen to digital radio in their car each week, an increase of 490,000 people year on year. According to Rajar, over half a million people listen to radio via their smartphone in their car each week.

This coincides with Q2 2014 figures from CAP/SMMT which show that 55% of new cars now have digital radio as standard and that 1.2 million cars in the last year have been fitted with DAB digital radio. Digital Radio UK estimates that now around 9% of cars now have digital radio.

The No 1 digital-only station BBC 6 Music now has more listeners (1.89 million) than BBC Radio 3, and the leading commercial radio digital only station Absolute 80s recorded its highest ever number of listeners (1.24 million). The expansion to national networks supported by digital distribution drove digital growth for Heart UK (+21%), Smooth UK (+65%) and Kiss UK (+35%).

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, says: “Digital listening held steady in Q2 2104 but there has been a huge shift in radio listening over the last few years. This is highlighted by the decline in analogue listening to 56.6% which is even more extreme in home, where analogue and digital listening share are now nearly equal. For digital listening to increase to the next level will require significantly more growth in digital listening in car, as well as for local DAB coverage to be expanded towards FM equivalence and for more national digital-only stations to be launched.”

Steve Parkinson, Managing Director, Bauer Radio London, said: “Over half of our listening is now via a digital device and our national digital brands have seen strong growth, with standout record performances from Absolute 80s, Kisstory and heat Radio.”