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Digital radio listening rises

More than 16 million people now live in a DAB household, with digital radio listening now breaking the 20 per cent mark.

At 20.1 per cent, more than a fifth of all radio listening is via a digital platform (up from 17.8 per cent in Q1 2008). Leading the way is DAB listening with a share of 12.7 per cent (up 17 per cent year on year) with DTV and Internet listening at 3.4 per cent and 2.2 per cent respectively.

Bauer Media still controls the most listened to digital radio stations, with Smash Hits and The Hits, whilst Q radio increased hours by 24.6 per cent delivering more than one million hours, and further increased reach by 55,000 to 300,000.

Digital-only Jazz FM returned to RAJAR for the first time under its current ownership, and posted a weekly reach of 408,000 listeners, 1.6 million average hours and an average of 4 hours per listener.

Chairman Richard Wheatly, who was behind the station’s first incarnation ten years ago and who was responsible for successfully piloting the station back onto the air this time around said that he was stunned by the brilliance of the figures. He said: “These numbers are a vindication of the months of hard work the whole team have put into creating a new Jazz FM for the digital generation.

"For a niche station to achieve a first set of audience figures like this in today’s fragmented radio market is extraordinary.”

Another independent digital station, Planet Rock, attracted 674,000 listeners, down slightly from last quarter, but up on last year.

The Digital Radio Development Bureau chief executive, Tony Moretta says: “These figures reflect strong DAB sales at Christmas when more than half a million sets were sold. It’s encouraging to see all digital listening – via DTV and Internet as well as DAB – continuing to grow with every quarter.

“With the support of the government’s Digital Britain initiative, the digital radio industry has been energised in recent months. New radio services are launching, new multi-functional products are appearing and prices are affordable. With countries like France, Germany and Australia launching DAB-based services, and chip-makers rising to the challenge of a global market, we believe radio’s digital future looks buoyant.”

Radio listening via mobile phone continues to grow steadily among adults aged 15+ with Q1, 2009 posting an increase of 13 per cent from 11.6 per cent in Q1, 2008 to 13 per cent in Q1, 2009. The 15 to 24-year-old demographic also shows a similar increase of 14 per cent year on year, with 30.6 per cent of those in this age group saying they have listened to the radio in this way (27.3.per cent in Q1, 2008), of which 15 per cent say they listen at least once a week and 3 per cent say they listen every day.

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