Digital listening reaches new record in fourth consecutive quarter over 50%

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Digital listening has reached a new record share of 52.6%, up from 49.9% in Q4 2017, boosted by strong digital listening growth to national commercial stations and to digital listening in car, according to RAJAR Q4 2018 data released today.

Now over 50% for four consecutive quarters, digital listening is at record levels across BBC and commercial stations, accounting for 51.5% of all BBC radio and 53.9% of commercial radio listening.  Commercial radio’s digital share has increased as the availability and number of digitally distributed national commercial stations continues to grow. Digital listening to national commercial stations has increased by 13.9 million hours (or 10.3%) year on year, and now accounts for 80% of all national commercial listening.

Digital listening is increasingly the norm and all age demographics between the ages of 10-64 years old have digital listening above 50%, with 35-44 year olds having the highest digital listening at 58.5%.

An important driver of digital listening growth is in car digital listening which grew by 15 million hours or 19% year on year and reached a new record share of 37.5% of all in car listening.  93% of new cars sold now come with DAB as standard and an additional 2.36 million new vehicles were registered with DAB as standard in 2018, according to CAP/SMMT data for Q4 2018.

The most popular digital-only station remains BBC 6 Music with a weekly reach of 2.3 million listeners, with Radio 4 Extra regaining the second most popular spot, growing to 2.1m listeners. KISSTORY is the most popular commercial digital-only station, with a weekly reach of 1.8 million listeners.

DAB remains the most popular digital platform, accounting for a record share of 38.3% of all radio listening or 72.7% of all digital listening. 65% of the population now own a DAB radio at home compared to 62.3% in the same quarter last year.

Listening hours via online/Apps grew by 6.6% year on year, to now account for 9.4% of all radio listening and 17.8% of digital listening. Listening via digital television now accounts for 5% of radio listening and 9.4% of digital listening.

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said: “Q4 2018 marks the fourth quarter in a row when digital listening has been above 50%. The growth of digital listening and launch of new digital stations is providing a platform for growth for all broadcasters and we welcome the increasing levels of digital radio content innovation and investment. We look forward to the listening data for Q1 2019 which will reflect the massive surge in smart speaker sales and usage post-Christmas and the impact of the new stations and schedules launched in January.”

Source: RAJAR/Ipsos MORI/RSMB

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