BBC Radio 4 Extra has taken the top digital radio station crown from 6 Music to become the most listened to digital station.
4 Extra has increased by 35% to 2.2m listeners, up from 1.6m this time last year. But 6 Music isn’t far behind on 2.19m listeners, up 10% from 1.99m in Q3 2014. BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra has also 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.
In the commercial sector, Absolute 80s retains its position as the No 1 commercial digital-only station growing by 10% to 1.57m listeners (from 1.4m in Q3 2014). In its first RAJAR period, digital-only station Smooth Extra recorded 930k listeners while Capital Xtra’s digital listening increased by 55% to 600k listeners (from 388k in Q3 2014) on digital.
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.
And it’s good news for digital radio fans in general this quarter as analogue listening declined year on year by 10.4% to just over 50% of listening.
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).
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).
Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said: “The shift to digital listening is accelerating across the UK and the fact that listening on analogue platforms has declined to just over 50% of people is a tipping point. 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.”