Commercial radio inches ahead of BBC on digital radio platforms

Commercial radio has attracted a higher share of digital radio audiences than the BBC for the first time, with record-breaking performances by Bauer Radio's Absolute 80s and Kisstory stations in April through to June 2015.

Commercial radio enjoyed a digital radio share of 40.1% versus 39.5% for BBC services. (Internet and community radio stations feature in the remaining share.)

Absolute 80s is the No 1 commercial digital only station growing by 29% to a new record of 1.6 million listeners, closely followed in second place by sister station, Kisstory, which grew by 33% to 1.5million listeners. The majority of Bauer Radio’s listening is via digital (53.3%) with Absolute Radio boasting 79% of its listening to digital platforms.

Meanwhile, Global Radio's LBC, having launched nationally on the Digital 1 multiplex in 2014, and Freeview earlier this year, showed strong digital growth of 41% to 771,000 digital listeners. Capital XTRA grew on digital platforms by 27% to 511,000 digital listeners, whilst the Gold Network grew by 22% to 612,000 digital listeners with over 50% of its listeners being digital for the first time (51.6%) - although Gold is now only available on analogue radio (AM) in a small number of locations.

Although commercial radio enjoys a bigger slice of the market, the BBC's 6 Music becomes the most listened-to digital radio station, after temporarily losing the top slot to Radio 4 Extra during the first three months of the year. BBC Radio 6 Music has 2.06 million listeners.

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DIGITAL ONLY STATIONS
DIGITAL REACH: Q2 2015  
No.
Station
Digital Audience (000's)
Year on year change (%)
1
BBC 6 Music 
2055
8.7%
2
BBC Radio 4 Extra 
1954
24%
3
BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra
1625
77%
4
Absolute 80s
1603
29%
5
Kisstory
1459
33%
6
Planet Rock  
1084
10%
7
BBC 1Xtra
958
2%
8
Kerrang!            
843
-6%
9
Heat
833
-7%
10
The Hits    
777
0.4%



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