Digital radio listening shows 10% annual growth
Digital radio listening has grown by 10% in the last year, according to Rajar Q4 2015 data released today to almost 42% (41.7%). This consolidates the strong position of digital radio ahead of the launch of new national digital stations next month (March 2016).
In the last year there has been a clear shift in the UK’s radio listening habits with digital listening’s share of total radio listening growing by 10% to 41.7% (from 37.9%) while during the same period the AM/FM listening share has declined by almost 10% to 50.6% (from 56.4%).
Over 30 million people or 56% of adults listen on a digital platform every week, an increase of 2.2 million digital listeners in the last year. Annual digital listening hours have grown by 9.8% (to 423m hours from 385m in Q4 2014).
Digital listening has remained broadly flat quarter on quarter (Q4 2015 v Q3 2015) which suggests a modest quarterly correction after the exceptional rate of growth last quarter.
Listening on all digital platforms grew year on year with a 9% increase in DAB listening (to 280m hours from 257m hours in Q4 2014). DAB listening share increased to a record level of 27.7% and remains the most popular digital platform representing over 66% of digital listening. DAB owner-ship grew by 10% year on year to 54% of the population (from 48.9% in Q4 2014).
There was 10% increase in online listening (to 69m hours from 62m hours in Q4 2014) and online listening share increased to 6.8%. Listening on digital TV grew by 6% (to 50m hours from 48m hours in Q4 2014) and digital TV listening share remained flat at 5.0%
Radio listening in cars grew to a record level of almost 23% (22.8%) of all radio listening. Digital listening in cars grew by 45% year on year (to 45m hours from 31m in Q4 2014) and now accounts for nearly 20% of all in car listening (19.5% from 13.9% in Q4 2014), boosted by growth in new cars being fitted with digital radio as standard.
Over 50% (50.7%) of total listening hours to National BBC and commercial stations are now digital and there was strong growth in both BBC and commercial digital listening with their digital platform shares increasing to 42.5% and 40.6% respectively (from 38.3% and 37.2% in Q4 2014).
In the battle for the No.1 digital-only station BBC 6 Music reclaimed the top spot overtaking sister station Radio 4 Extra. BBC 6 Music increased listeners by 6% to 2.2m listeners (from 2.O8m in Q4 2014) while BBC Radio 4 Extra increased by 23% to 2.1m listeners (from 1.7m listeners in Q4 2014). BBC Radio 5 Live sports extra’s listening reduced from its Ashes peak in Q3 2015 but annu-ally increased by 88% to 1.2m listeners (from 0.7m in Q4 2014).
There was strong growth for commercial digital stations with Absolute 80s retaining its position as the No 1 commercial digital-only station growing by 12% to 1.59m listeners (from 1.4m in Q4 2014). Kisstory grew year on year by 34% to 1.4m listeners (from 1.0m in Q4 2014) ahead of its national expansion on the second national commercial digital radio multiplex in March 2016.
In its first Rajar period Global station Radio X recorded 1.2m listeners an increase of 30% over XFM listeners in Q4 2014. Digital listening to Radio X increased by 55% versus XFM digital listening in Q4 2014 boosted by Radio X going onto the D1 DAB Network in September 2015.
5 major radio brands in dual transmission now have digital listening accounting for the majority of listening: Absolute Radio Network – 78%, Magic – 56%, Kiss – 55%, Gold – 54%, BBC Radio 5 live (incl. Sports Extra) – 56%, In Q4 2015 LBC digital listening increased by 17% to nearly 50% (49.8%) from 44% last year.
Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said: “Digital listening continues to grow by 10% per annum and is closing the gap on analogue listening. Digital listening to national stations is already over 50% and we expect to see that accelerate with the biggest ever launch of national commercial stations this Spring. This is a massive moment for radio and listeners, and with this explosion of choice there has never been a better time to listen to digital radio at home or in the car.”