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Analogue radio listening continues to fall as digital reaches "tipping point"

The number of listeners tuning in analogue radio has continued to fall, according to the latest statistics: down to 50.4% from 56.4% a year ago.

Over 50% (50.6%) of total listening hours to National BBC and commercial stations are now digital for the first time, and there was strong growth in both BBC and commercial digital listening with their digital platform shares increasing to 42.4% and 41.2% respectively (from 38.4% and 36.5% in Q3 2014).

DAB radio ownership has increased from 50.9% three months ago to 53.6% of UK households. Over the last 12 months, DAB radio ownership is up 10%.

More than 30 million people or 56% of adults listen on a digital platform every week, according to new Rajar audience figures covering July to September 2015, with digital listening hours growing year on year by 12.5% (to 433m hours from 385m in Q3 2014) and to a new record platform share of nearly 42% (to 41.9% from 37.8% in Q3 2014). Digital radio stations including Absolute 80s, Kisstory and BBC Radio 4 Extra have all experienced record audiences as result of the digital shift.

Listening on all digital platforms grew year on year, led by a 14% increase in DAB listening (to 286m hours from 250m hours in Q3 2014) and a 9% increase in online listening (to 71m hours from 65m hours in Q3 2014). Listening on digital TV grew by 2% (to 52m hours from 51m hours in Q3 2014).

Digital listening in cars grew by 41% year on year (to 43.3m hours from 30.8m in Q3 2014) and now accounts for over 19% of all in car listening (19.3% from 13.8% in Q3 2014), boosted by growth in new cars being fitted with digital radio as standard.

Former Radio 1 Breakfast DJ Chris Moyles launched his new show on Radio X, further fueling interest for digital radio in recent months. However, the impact of his move to Radio X won't be felt until the next quarterly figures are published in the new year.

Describing the figures as a "tipping point" for digital radio, Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said:
“The shift to digital listening is accelerating across the UK and the fact that listening on analogue platforms has declined to just over 50% of people is a tipping point. The 12.5% annual growth in digital listening hours to nearly 42% share is the strongest we have seen for two years. This is reflected in the success of national BBC and commercial stations on digital and this is the first time that digital listening of national stations has been over 50%. We are now counting down to the moment when the majority of all radio listening will be to digital.”


  1. 50% of listening still on Analogue is not a "tipping point". It's the usual excessive hype for DAB and digital radio. At some point takeup will slow down when analogue is down to the refusniks. Whether that is 20% or 2% or what figure is unclear.

  2. It would be interesting to see how robust these figures are. I. for instance, listen across several platforms every week - DAB, Satellite, Freeview, Mobile, Analogue and IP streaming so how would that be recorded for statistical purposes? In this I wouldn't say that I was alone. I agree that the number of DAB sets sold has increased since the price of the units have come down but to say that analogue listening is at a "tipping point" may be stretching it a bit. For some stations the best sound I get is via an analogue stereo hi-fi tuner - beats DAB any day - in fact satellite definitely beats DAB and Freeview does too on some stations. It's a shame that the UK is so accepting of such a poor performer as DAB broadcast in glorious mono.

  3. On dab in Wemyss bay west coast of Scotland we only get BBC


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