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Digital listening tantalisingly close to 50% boosted by commercial radio
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Digital listening tantalisingly close to 50% boosted by commercial radio

Digital listening reached a new record share of 49.9%, a percentage share growth of 10% compared to 45.2% in Q4 2016, according to RAJAR Q4 2017 data released today. The growth was driven by a surge in digital listening for commercial radio stations, which for the first time exceed 50% at 51.6%, up from 45% in Q4 2016.

The growth in commercial digital listening was boosted by strong audience growth across a number of stations including Radio X, which increased reach by 26% year on year to 1.58 million listeners; Kisstory, which increased by 22.3% to 1.71 million listeners; Kiss Fresh which grew 17.5% to 578,000 listeners; Virgin Radio which grew 46% to 483,000 listeners; and the on-going success of Heart 80s, reaching 1.17 million listeners in its third quarter on air.

Digital listening to BBC stations grew to 48.3% from 45.5% in Q4 2016, with BBC Radio 4 exceeding 50% digital listening for the first time at 50.7% and a new record audience for its sister station, BBC Radio 4 Extra, reaching 2.26 million listeners.

Digital listening grew across all platforms, with the fastest growth this quarter being to online/apps which increased by 13.2% in hours to account for 8.5% share of all radio listening and 17% of digital listening. The majority of digital listening is via DAB digital radio which grew 9.2% in hours to account for 36.3% share of all radio listening or 72.8% of digital listening. Listening via digital television grew 3.3% in hours to account for 5.1% share of all listening and for 10.2% of digital listening.

Digital listening across 10-64 years olds combined is now 52.8%, and for the first time all individual age groups under 65 (10-14; 15-24s; 35-44s; 45- 54s; 55-64 year olds) have digital share of over 50%.

The most popular digital-only station is BBC 6 Music with a weekly reach of 2.34 million listeners, followed by BBC Radio 4 Extra (2.26 million). Kisstory (1.71 million) is the most popular commercial digital-only station, with Absolute 80s taking the second spot with a weekly reach of 1.47 million listeners.

Listening has grown across national and local stations, with national digital listening hours increasing by 7.3% year on year to 58%, and local digital listening hours to 34.7%, up 13.7% from Q4 2016.

In car digital listening hours have grown by 25% year on year, an increase of 15.9 million hours, and reached a new record share of 32%. DAB digital listening in cars contributed to 50% of all DAB digital listening growth.

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said: “Listening on a digital platform is fast becoming the norm for all age groups with nearly 50% of all listening now being digital. This quarter we have seen a strong surge in digital listening for commercial radio stations, which is now 51.6%, boosted by the strong audience growth of a number of stations including Radio X, Kisstory, Kiss Fresh, Virgin Radio, and the success of new station Heart 80s, to name a but a few. On the BBC, it’s great see the iconic BBC Radio 4 having over 50% digital listening for the first time and a new record audience for its sister station, BBC Radio 4 Extra.”

More Radio, In Your Car

Enjoy digital radio in your car whether you’re buying a new vehicle or upgrading your existing one.

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BBC Scotland, Bauer and News Scotland to speak at Edinburgh Event
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BBC Scotland, Bauer and News Scotland to speak at Edinburgh Event

A special radio industry event which will take place in Edinburgh on Thursday 15 March was announced today by Digital Radio UK and the Radio Academy Scotland.

The free event, entitled 'This Is Radio', takes place at The Place Hotel in Edinburgh, and will look at radio's future in Scotland and the Edinburgh area, featuring speakers from leading radio broadcasters in Scotland - BBC Radio Scotland, Bauer and News Scotland. The event will be hosted by Stuart Barrie, Chair of Radio Academy Scotland and speakers will provide updates on radio listening trends, new digital content strategies, new station launches and new devices such as voice-connected audio.

Confirmed speakers include Gareth Hydes Commissioning Editor Radio, Music and Events BBC Radio Scotland and Graham Bryce, Group Managing Director of Bauer City Network. Additionally, Richard Bogie, General Manager, News Scotland and Carol Wyper, Marketing Manager, The Scottish Sun, will update on the three newly-launched Scottish Sun digital stations.

Attendees will also hear about Edinburgh's radio history from inimitable radio historian, David Lloyd, and have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A panel session on the future of radio in Scotland.

Edinburgh is a dynamic and iconic radio market with one of the highest levels of DAB radio ownership in the UK (63.3%) and where digital listening is just about 50% (49.9%). There are now over 60 digital stations available on DAB in the Edinburgh area, with over 20 stations broadcast locally including 5 recent additions - Go Radio, Rock Sport Radio, Scottish Sun Hits, Scottish Sun 80s and Scottish Sun Greatest Hits.

Stuart Barrie, Radio Academy Scotland, Chair, said: "Radio is changing fast and we think for the better so it's great to have the opportunity to get the leading broadcasters in Scotland together to look at what's next for radio in Scotland. We look forward to seeing people from right across the industry at the Edinburgh event on 15 March - BBC commercial, community and student radio."

Ford Ennals, CEO, Digital Radio UK, said: "Radio listening in Edinburgh is almost 50% digital and there are more stations available than ever so this seems like a great time to look forward to Scottish radio's digital future including a look at new stations, new distribution platforms and the impact that Amazon's Alexa is having. We have an amazing speaker line up and I think its going to be a lively and enjoyable evening. See you there."

The 'This is Radio' event is free and there is a welcome drink for all attendees and the chance to win a DAB radio. To book your place please contact Lucy Forster on

Event details:
Date: Thursday 15 March, 6pm -8pm

The Place Hotel
33-38 York Place
Edinburgh  EH1 3HU

Go Digital Car

There’s never been a better time to get digital radio in your car in Surrey, thanks to an in car digital radio pilot scheme taking place in the county.

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