The first quarter of 2017 saw a record high in listening via a digital platform (DAB, internet or television) in the United Kingdom, according to Rajar, with the format earning a share of 47.2 percent. When the 50 percent threshold is crossed, the U.K. government will consider the timetable for a digital switchover.
“We look forward to the achievement of the 50 percent listening threshold set by the government and working with the radio industry to determine a clear road map for radio’s digital future,” said Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio U.K.
There were 10 areas in the U.K. that surpassed 50 percent digital listening share, led by Nottinghamshire at 55.7 percent; others include Herts/Beds/Bucks, London, Leeds, Swinton and West Wilshire, Surrey, Bristol, Sussex, Reading & Basingstoke and Somerset. Also cracking the 50 percent marks were the listening age groups of 25–34 year olds, 35–44 year olds and 45–54 year olds.
National and local stations are also showing increases in digital listening. National digital licensing has bumped up to 55.3 percent, but local digital listening — while at 32.8 percent overall — is actually growing at a faster rate of 12.8 percent growth year-to-year. Commercial radio and BBC have also grown to reach 47.6 percent and 46.7 percent digital listening respectively.
DAB digital listening is also up 11 percent to a new high of 33.8 percent of all radio listeners and 71.5 percent of all digital listening. Digital listening via online/apps now accounts for 8 percent of all radio listening and 16.9 percent of digital listening, while digital television accounts for 5.5 percent of radio listening and 11.6 percent of digital listening.
Additional findings from Rajar include a 9 percent growth in digital listening hours compared to Q1 2016. There are a reported 1.2 million additional digital listeners, with 66 percent of all radio listeners now listening on a digital platform. In-car radio listening hit 23.5 percent of all radio listening, another high, supported by the increase of in-car digital radio with 87 percent of new cards fitted with DAB as a standard, per Rajar.