Internet Radio Listening Growing Quickly In UK

RAJAR, the official audience measurement service for radio in the UK, has recently released listening data from the 4th quarter of last year. Listening to Internet radio grew by 55% in the year between Q4 2009 and Q4 2010, crossing over the 3% of all radio listening share threshold for the first time.

Listening to radio via other digital platforms is substantial as well – listening to digital audio broadcasting (DAB) in the UK has a 25 % share of all listening. There has been a much more substantial effort in the UK to transition radio broadcasting and distribution to DAB – Digital One and BBC are the two main operators and over one-third of the population now lives in a household with a DAB receiver.

At the same time, listening to all radio continues to grow in the UK. 46.7 million persons 15+ listen to radio weekly, which translates to 90.5% of that population. That’s up by almost 750,000 listening or 1.7% from a year ago.

There’s a lot that is different about radio listening in the UK, so it’s difficult to make comparisons to US listening. 55% of all listening is to BBC Radio, which is government funded. 42.5% of listening is to Commercial Radio. Audience measurement is funded jointly by the BBC and the Commercial sector and the data is available online for everyone to see (here).

It’s interesting to note that digital listening is driving overall listening UP overall. One could infer that listeners are more satisfied with additional platform offerings and are spending more time with the medium..


4 responses

  1. UK was the center of new music always, so as a musician I will promote there first. listen to music online is a new move by British people as technology is taking the borders away. From Beatles from 50s/60s to new bands on daily basis, so this is not surprising me.

  2. Just one correction, if I may: the 25% figure is the total share of “digital radio” – i.e. DAB, internet and through the TV – rather than simply DAB Digital Radio itself (which is lower). This figure is important, since it’s this figure, when it hits 50%, that will trigger the effective switchoff of the FM band, forcing all radio to “go digital”. The digital radio industry wants this 50% figure to be hit in 2013, and a switchover in 2015; I think that’s unlikely.

    DAB is the dominant digital radio platform, since – much like HD Radio in the US – it’s a broadcast technology with roughly similar benefits to FM: it’s free to receive, the receivers are cheap, and it works reliably everywhere. Internet radio’s paltry 3% of all listening here is lower than most other European nations, reflective of the wider choice listeners have on other platforms.

    Oh, and finally – the BBC is not “government funded” in the UK. It’s funded by the TV Licence, which is a mandatory US$230 annual fee charged to almost every household that owns a television: so the money goes from the viewer/listener directly to the BBC (a mandatory donation, if you like). The distinction’s small but important, for while government has influence over the level of the licence fee, it is not involved in its collection, and it allows the BBC to be editorially distinct from the government’s views (as governments regularly find to their cost). However, BBC World Service radio – “the BBC” that you hear in the US – is currently government funded.

  3. Thanks James!

  4. […] Internet Radio Listening Growing Quickly In UK ( […]

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