Digital listening has reached a new record share of 50.9% – a landmark achievement for the industry which hopes will trigger action from the Government about the future of DAB.

This compares to 47.2% in Q1 2017 and to 24.0% in Q1 2010 when the Government’s Digital Radio Action Plan, which outlined a programme of work to progress digital radio take up, was launched.

With the 50% digital listening threshold now met, it is anticipated that the Government will undertake a review to assess digital radio progress and determine next steps in due course.

Speaking at the Tuning In commercial radio conference yesterday, Margot James, Minister of State for Digital and the Creative Industries, said “The 50% share will be an important milestone for radio” and confirmed that Government will “work closely with all partners – the BBC, commercial radio, Arqiva, car manufacturers and listeners – and subject to this will make some further announcements.”

Ford Ennals, CEO, Digital Radio UK, told RadioToday: “This is a landmark moment for the radio industry and for listeners alike. Digital platforms now account for the majority of all radio listening for the first time. The digital transition is good news for radio and is helping our industry compete more effectively in a digital age. We look forward to continuing to work with broadcasters, the supply chain and Government on delivering radio’s digital future and the upcoming digital radio review.”

Digital listening share is comprised of listening across all digital platforms – DAB in homes and in cars, Apps and online (which includes the growing number of smart and voice-controlled speakers) and DTV – and this is the first time that listening to digital has been greater than analogue platforms – FM and AM.

Overall, digital listening hours grew by 7.8% compared to Q1 2017. The greatest amount of digital listening takes place on a DAB radio which now accounts for 36.8% of all listening and 72.2% of digital listening, with hourly growth of 8.9% year on year. Online and Apps now accounts for 9.3% of all listening and 18.3% of digital listening, with the greatest percentage hourly growth of 17%. Listening via digital TV meanwhile accounts 4.8% of all listening and 9.4% of digital listening.

63.7% of adults now have access to DAB digital radio at home, plus millions more are listening via the expanding range of smart and voice-controlled speakers. Additionally digital radio is in over 11 million cars on the road, equating to 33% of all cars in the UK, and 90% of all new cars registered have digital radio fitted as standard.

This growth in availability has been matched by an expansion of national and local DAB coverage which is now available in over 90% of the UK due to the launch of an additional 435 digital transmitters, as part of a programme of work supported by Government and broadcasters.

Around the stations, BBC 6 Music and Kisstory, and Heart 80s, all achieved record-breaking audiences this quarter. Long-standing MW stations such as BBC Radio 5 live, Absolute Radio and talkSPORT now have the majority of their listening via digital platforms, as do FM speech-based stations BBC Radio 4 and LBC.

Source: RAJAR

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By Expat