Digital radio takes majority share of listening for first time

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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.

The figure 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, Minister of State for Digital and Creative Industries Margot James 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.”

Digital Radio UK chief executive Ford Ennals added: “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.

Arqiva terrestrial broadcast managing director Steve Holebrook commented: “Greater station choice and coverage are some of the key drivers that have propelled digital listening to now account for the majority of listening. We are proud of the role we have played extending the national and local networks over the last three years to allow millions more people to receive DAB and enjoy the enhanced range of new stations that are available via digital.”

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