Digital listening grows to a new record of 42%

Digital listening grew to a new record platform share of nearly 42% (41.9%) – the strongest growth for two years, according to Rajar Q3 2015 data released today.

Over 30 million people or 56% of adults listen on a digital platform every week, with digital listening hours growing year on year by 12.5% (to 433m hours from 385m in Q3 2014) and to a new record platform share of nearly 42% (to 41.9% from 37.8% in Q3 2014).

Listening on all digital platforms grew year on year led by a 14% increase in DAB listening (to 286m hours from 250m hours in Q3 2014) and a 9% increase in online listening (to 71m hours from 65m hours in Q3 2014). Listening on digital TV grew by 2% (to 52m hours from 51m hours in Q3 2014). DAB ownership grew by 10% year on year to 53.6% of all households (from 48.7% in Q3 2014).

Analogue listening now accounts for just over 50% of listening (50.4%).

Digital listening in cars grew by 41% year on year (to 43.3m hours from 30.8m in Q3 2014) and now accounts for over 19% of all in car listening (19.3% from 13.8% in Q3 2014), boosted by growth in new cars being fitted with digital radio as standard.

Over 50% (50.6%) of total listening hours to National BBC and commercial stations are now digital for the first time, and there was strong growth in both BBC and commercial digital listening with their digital platform shares increasing to 42.4% and 41.2% respectively (from 38.4% and 36.5% in Q3 2014).

There were record-breaking performances by BBC digital-only stations. BBC Radio 4 Extra increased by 35% to 2.2m listeners (from 1.6m in Q3 2014), over-taking sister station BBC 6 Music (2.19m listeners, up 10% from 1.99m in Q3 2014) to become the No 1 digital-only station. BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra increased by 42% to a record 1.7m listeners (from 1.2m in Q3 2014) boosted by listening to exclusive coverage of the summer cricket Ashes series.

There was strong growth for commercial digital stations with Absolute 80s retaining its position as the No 1 commercial digital-only station growing by 10% to 1.57m listeners (from 1.4m in Q3 2014).  Kisstory grew year on year by 34% to 1.3m listeners (from 0.97m in Q3 2014) ahead of its national expansion on the second national commercial digital radio multiplex in early 2016. In its first Rajar period, digital-only station Smooth Extra recorded 930k listeners while Capital Xtra’s digital listening surged by 55% to 600k listeners (from 388k in Q3 2014) on digital.

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said: “The shift to digital listening is accelerating across the UK. The 12.5% annual growth in digital listening hours to nearly 42% share is the strongest we have seen for two years. This is reflected in the success of national BBC and commercial stations on digital and this is the first time that digital listening of national stations has been over 50%. We are now counting down to the moment when the majority of all radio listening will be to digital.”