Digital listening hits nearly 50 per cent

Digital listening has surged to a record share of almost 50 per cent, according to new data.

The latest Rajar figures showed that digital listening hit 48.7 per cent – a growth of 7.5 per cent compared with 45.3 per cent in Q2 2016.

An additional 1.5 million adults are now listening via a digital platform, compared with Q2 2016, taking the digital reach to 33m people – 61.2 per cent of the population.

Digital listening across all platforms continues to increase, with the fastest growing sector being online/ apps, which grew by 9.1 per cent hours to an 8.8 per cent share of all radio listening and 18 per cent of digital listening. The popularity of voice-controlled and smart speakers has helped to drive this growth.

The majority of digital listening is via DAB digital radio, which grew 6.1 per cent in hours to account for a 34.5 per cent share of all radio listening – 71 per cent of digital listening.

Listening via digital television grew by four per cent in hours to account for 5.4 per cent of all listening and for 11.1 per cent of digital listening.

National commercial digital listening hours continued to grow, with an increase of 9.8 per cent year-on-year to account for over three-quarters (75.4 per cent) share of all national commercial listening.

In-car digital listening grew 20 per cent year-on-year and reached a new record share of 29.7 per cent. More than 700,000 new cars on UK roads featured DAB digital radio as standard in Q1 2017.

Digital listening in cars has also contributed to 38 per cent of all digital listening hourly growth.

Said Ford Ennals, chief executive of Digital Radio UK: “The new Rajar data confirms that digital radio’s momentum is unstoppable, with close to 50 per cent of all listening now being on a digital platform.

“We see this digital growth right across the board – commercial radio and BBC, national and local and across all digital platforms. Digital radio is truly the engine for growth for UK radio and we continue to see great performances from new digital stations.”