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Digital Listening Reaches 50.9 Percent in UK

Latest Rajar data shows digital listening has surpassed analog FM and AM

Listening across all digital platforms (DAB, apps and online, voice-controlled speakers, DTV) in the United Kingdom has reached 50.9 percent, up from 47.2 percent a year ago, according to Rajar Q1 2018 data released May 17. This compares to 47.2 percent in Q1 2017 and to 24.0 percent in Q1 2010, and marks the first time listening to digital has surpassed FM and AM analog platforms.

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

“The 50 percent share will be an important milestone for radio,” said the Minister of State for Digital and the Creative Industries, Margot James, during the Tuning In 2018 radio conference, which took place in London May 16 [a day before the Rajar findings were released]. She confirmed the 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.”

The Rajar report revealed that overall digital listening hours grew by 7.8 percent compared to Q1 2017, with the largest increase taking place on a DAB radio, which it shows, now accounts for 36.8 percent of all listening and 72.2 percent of digital listening.

In addition, 63.7 percent of adults now have access to DAB digital radio at home and, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Q1 2018 report, digital radio is in over 11 million cars on the road, equating to 33 percent of all cars in the country, with 90 percent of all new cars registered have digital radio fitted as standard.

[Read: Infographic Shows 12 Million DAB Receivers Sold in 2017]

Online and Apps now account for 9.3 percent of all listening and 18.3 percent of digital listening. Listening via digital TV accounts for 4.8 percent of all listening and 9.4 percent of digital listening.

National and local DAB coverage is now available in over 90 percent of the U.K.