RAJAR Q4 2017: Digital and industry analysis

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Digital listening reached a new record share of 49.9%, a percentage share growth of 10% compared to 45.2% in Q4 2016 in the latest RAJAR.

The growth was driven by a surge in digital listening for commercial radio stations, which for the first time exceed 50% at 51.6%, up from 45% in Q4 2016.

The growth in commercial digital listening was boosted by strong audience growth across a number of stations including Radio X, which increased reach by 26% year on year to 1.58 million listeners; Kisstory, which increased by 22.3% to 1.71 million listeners; Kiss Fresh with grew 17.5% to 578,000 listeners; Virgin Radio which grew 46% to 483,000 listeners; and the on-going success of Heart 80s, reaching 1.17 million listeners in its third quarter on air.

Digital listening to BBC stations grew to 48.3% from 45.5% in Q4 2016, with BBC Radio 4 exceeding 50% digital listening for the first time at 50.7% and a new record audience for its sister station, BBC Radio 4 Extra, reaching 2.26 million listeners.

Digital listening grew across all platforms, with the fastest growth this quarter being to online/apps which increased by 13.2% in hours to account for 8.5% share of all radio listening and 17% of digital listening. The majority of digital listening is via DAB digital radio which grew 9.2% in hours to account for 36.3% share of all radio listening or 72.8% of digital listening. Listening via digital television grew 3.3% in hours to account for 5.1% share of all listening and for 10.2% of digital listening.

Digital listening across 10-64 years olds combined is now 52.8%, and for the first time all individual age groups under 65 (10-14; 15-24s; 35-44s; 45- 54s; 55-64 year olds) have digital share of over 50%.

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

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

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

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said: “Listening on a digital platform is fast becoming the norm for all age groups with nearly 50% 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%, 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. On the BBC, it’s great see the iconic BBC Radio 4 having over 50% digital listening for the first time and a new record audience for its sister station, BBC Radio 4 Extra.”



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3 Comments
  1. Radio Geordie says

    And every quarter the same thing happens. Digital listening is up and then Mr Ennals pops up to crow that more people are listening to DAB when the word is DIGITAL not DAB.

    RAJAR, PLEASE give us a breakdown of how people are listening ‘digitally’ as Digital Radio UK seem to forget the definition of digital includes the following:
    Smartphones
    Tablet devices
    Computers
    Wi-fi Radio
    Freeview/You View
    Freesat
    Sky
    Virgin
    and finally, DAB.

    I listen to Radio Caroline via the Radio Player as I can’t get it in the North East on DAB. If I was taking part in these listener figures, it would still be counted as digital listening, but it wouldn’t count as DAB.

  2. AlMorr says

    No mention of The Sun Newspaper three DAB radio stations in Central Scotland, listening to those stations could affect the liking of Clyde 1 or 2, same with Forth 1 and 2. Listening figures for these 3 will come out next quarter.

    1. Radio Geordie says

      The reason is a simple one, they only started on January 1st and this report is for the last 3 months of 2017.

      If they and the new DAB only services of Total Access, Signal 80s, Pulse 80s and Wave 80s aren’t included next survey, then its because they aren’t paying to be included.

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