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Upward Tick for Digital Listening in U.K.

RAJAR results for the second quarter of 2010 show small bumps for digital listening across all platforms.

Radio listening via digital platforms continues its steady, albeit slow, pace of adoption in the United Kingdom. According to audience survey results released today (Aug. 5 BST) by British audience survey company RAJAR, the weekly reach for digital radio was about 38.7% for April–May–June 2010, up from 35.0% in the same quarter of 2009. By comparison, weekly reach for all radio (analog and digital) was 90.6% for 2Q2010.

In total, about 24.6% of all radio listening in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man is via a digital platform.

Breaking that number apart further, 15.8% of total listening is specifically via a DAB radio set, with the remaining digital listening being via a DTV platform (4.1%) or the Internet (2.9%). RAJAR was unable to determine a specific digital platform for the remaining 1.8% of total listening. While Internet radio listening was steady from 1Q2010, DAB and DTV saw small increases from the previous survey (0.7% and 0.1%, respectively).

The RAJAR survey also notes that 35.3% of British adults (15+) claim to have a DAB set in their home. That number is up slightly (2.3%) from the same quarter of 2009.

Comparing commercial broadcasters to the BBC, there was little difference in digital listening habits. Both sectors had 24.4% of total listening via a digital platform, although more BBC listeners were likely to use a DAB radio set (17.9% vs. 13.4%) and commercial radio listeners were slightly more likely to use a DTV platform (5.0% vs. 3.3%).

There was also a slight fluctuation in platform preference for both groups, compared to the 1Q2010 RAJAR survey. The BBC saw a percentage point more analog listeners in the second quarter, a rise from 66.3% to 67.3%, and a 0.2% drop in digital listening between the quarters.

Commercial radio, on the other hand saw a 0.4% drop in analog listening from 1Q2010 to 2Q2010, and a 1.5% increase in digital listening during the same period.

As part of the survey, RAJAR also asked respondents if they ever listened to radio via a mobile phone. Among all adults (15+), only 12.5% said they had. However, there was a significant age disparity in the results with 29.8% of 15- to 24-year-olds responding yes versus just 9.2% of those 25 and older. No breakdown of how mobile listening occurred (via FM, an app, webstream or other means) was provided.

In the MIDAS 6 survey of Internet-delivered audio services, released by RAJAR in July, the firm found that 20% of smartphone users, about 1.4 million people, had downloaded a radio app for their phone and 53% of them use the app at least once a week.