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Online and in-car boosts for digital radio

Digital listening was boosted further by increases in online listening and in-car DAB.

52.4% of UK radio listening is now done via a digital platform.

According to the latest set of radio audience figures for the third quarter of 2018, total digital listening hours grew by 5.4% year on year, or 27.5 million hours. DAB listening in cars accounted for 11 million hours (or 40%) of all digital listening growth, while listening in home via online/Apps accounted for 13.5 million hours (or 49%) of all digital listening growth.

The surge in digital listening was supported by growth in national digital listening which exceeded 60% for the first time at 60.9%. The most popular digital-only station remains BBC 6 Music with a weekly reach of 2.52 million listeners, followed by KISSTORY, the most popular commercial digital-only station, with a new record reach of 2.16 million listeners, a growth of 18.4% year on year.

DAB remains the most popular digital platform, accounting for a record share of 38.1% of all radio listening or 72.6% of all digital listening. 64.1% of the population now own a DAB radio at home compared to 61.6% in the same quarter last year.

Listening hours via online/Apps grew by 18.5% year on year to now account for 9.6% of all radio listening and 18.4% of digital listening. In home listening via online/Apps grew by 13.5 million hours or 25%, a reflection of the growing popularity of smart speakers. Meanwhile, listening via digital television, 90% of which is in home, declined by -5% year on year to account for 4.7% of radio listening and 9% of digital listening.

In car digital listening reached a new record share of 36.5%, a growth of 11.7 million hours or 15.5% year on year, supported by an additional 600,000 new vehicles with DAB as standard that were registered in Q3 2018 (CAP/SMMT).

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said:
“Radio’s digital transition continues to gain momentum with record digital share, over one million more digital listeners and 27.5 million more digital hours than last year. The way people listen to radio has fundamentally changed with the main drivers of digital growth being online in the home and DAB digital radio in cars. DAB remains the most popular digital platform overall but the strong take up of online listening by younger age groups shows just how important listening on Apps and smart speakers will be in the future.”