Digital radio listening hits record high

DIGITAL radio listening has hit a new high, driven by the expansion of station choice and the launch of a second DAB commercial network in March.

According to Rajar Q2 2016 data, the share of all radio listening on a digital platform has hit 45.3 per cent, up 5.4 percentage points from 39.9 per cent in the second quarter of 2015. This is the highest percentage increase since records began.

Growth occurred across all digital platforms, with DAB growing its share of listening to 32.2 per cent and accounting for 71 per cent of total digital listening.

Online grew its share to eight per cent and now accounts for 18 per cent of digital listening, while DTV (digital television) grew to 5.1 per cent, accounting for 11 per cent of digital listening. Overall digital reach increased by 2.3 million listeners year-on-year.

In-car digital hours grew by 49 per cent year on year to 58m hours – up from 39m hours in Q2 last year. It now accounts for 24.5 per cent of all listening (up from 16.9 per cent), boosted by the fact that more than 85 per cent of new cars are now being fitted with digital radios as standard. And more than one million people now listen to digital radio in their car through a smartphone.

In the second quarter of 2016, digital listening to local DAB stations has exceeded 30 per cent for the first time, growing to 31.4 per cent from 26.8 per cent in the same quarter last year. This is a 17 per cent year-on-year growth rate.

Ford Ennals (pictured), chief executive of Digital Radio UK, said: “Digital listening is now over 45 per cent and heading for 50 per cent, with nearly 32 million people listening on a digital platform every week.

“The record-breaking growth of 5.4 percentage points in digital listening has been prompted by the expansion of consumer choice we have seen this quarter, with the successful launch of 16 new digital stations on the second commercial national DAB network – Sound Digital.

“Other key factors in digital growth are the nearly 50 per cent increase in digital listening in cars and the expansion of local DAB coverage, which has helped increase digital listening to local stations.”