The UK radio industry has hailed a major landmark, with digital listening reaching a new record share of 50.9%, up from 47.2% a year ago, to account for the majority of all listening for the first time, according to RAJAR Q1 2018 data released recently.
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, said: “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.
The success of digital radio has been driven by industry investment in DAB coverage; the availability of DAB in cars; the development of mobile and online Apps along with the proliferation of smart and voice-controlled speakers with IP radio capability; combined with a huge expansion in the number of digital stations available.
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 [Source: CAP/SMMT Q1 2018].