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Digital Radio listening figures continue upward trend

According to the latest set of radio listening figures, digital radio listening has sustained its long term growth to reach a new high of 44.1%. For the first time, digital listening in home increased to over 50%.

During the first three months of 2016, 51.5% of all radio listening in home being to a digital platform, ahead of listening on AM/FM (48.5%), according to figures from Rajar.

There was growth across all digital platforms, with DAB growing its share of listening to 30.9% and now accounting for over 70% of total digital listening. Ownership of a DAB digital radio increased to 55.7% of the population, with 30 million adults now claiming to own a DAB radio, an increase of 14% year on year.

Online share of listening grew to 7.8% and accounts for 18% of digital listening, while digital TV's share of listening increased above 5% after a stagnant spell, growing to 5.4% to account for 12% of digital listening.

Digital listening in car grew by 32.5% to 21.2% of all listening (from 16% in Q1 2015), boosted by growth in new cars being fitted with digital radio as standard to over 80% in Q1 2016.

This quarter saw Rajar apply a new methodology to the data which eliminated any unspecified listening previously termed “analogue/digital not stated”. Only a small proportion of this re-allocation of unspecified listening was allocated to digital listening, meaning the majority of the increase in digital listening was due to sustained strong underlying growth, helped partly by a 40% increase in listeners for Radio X. The Q1 2016 Rajar data does not include any listening results for the 16 new digital-only stations launched in March 2016 (15 new stations on Sound Digital and 1 new station, Heart Extra, on Digital One).

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said: 
“What shines through this new listening data is the continuing and unstoppable shift to digital listening. We have seen record quarters for leading BBC and Commercial digital-only stations BBC 6 Music and Absolute 80s and digital listening on the BBC’s iconic stations Radio 3 and Radio 4 rising towards 50%. With the listening benefits of the 16 new digital-only stations launched in March still to come later this year we can see a clear path through to the majority of listening being digital.”