Digital listening hits record share of almost 50 per cent

Digital listening has reached a record share of 49.9 per cent, according to the latest Rajar figures.

The growth was driven by a surge in digital listening to commercial radio stations, which for the first time exceeded 50 per cent (51.6 per cent) – up from 45 per cent in Q4 of 2016.

Digital listening grew across all platforms, with the fastest growth this quarter being online/apps, which increased by 13.2 per cent in hours to account for 8.5 per cent share of all radio listening and 17 per cent of digital listening.

The majority of digital listening is via DAB digital radio, which grew 9.2 per cent in hours to account for a 36.3 per cent share of all radio listening, or 72.8 per cent of digital listening.

Listening via digital television grew 3.3 per cent in hours to account for a 5.1 per cent share of all listening and for 10.2 per cent of digital listening.

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 (2.26m). Kisstory (1.71 million) is the most popular commercial digital-only station, with Absolute 80s taking the second spot with a weekly reach of 1.47m listeners.

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

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

Said Ford Ennals, chief executive of Digital Radio UK (pictured): “Listening on a digital platform is fast becoming the norm for all age groups with nearly 50 per cent 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 per cent, boosted by the strong audience growth of a number stations including Radio X, Kisstory, Kiss Fresh, Virgin Radio, and the success of new station Heart 80s, to name a but a few.”