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..
HD Radio units sold, currently at 3 million, will reach 4 million units by the end of this year, according to ABI Research. That number pales in comparison to the 13.5 million DAB radio receivers sold in Great Britain and Europe, but it’s a healthy increase of more than 25% this year. Digital radio technologies, including satellite radio and Internet radio, are expected to reverse trends of decreasing listenership to radio.
You got that right.
TWICE, a consumer electronics magazine recently produced a special print issue focusing on the changing nature of radio listening as well, citing satellite radio, digital radio and Internet radio as the fuel for future radio listening growth. Summarized in Radio World – an online industry publication, the article notes that the meaning of the word radio has changed to encompass all these various listening platforms.
“Like it or not, our industry consists of more (than) AM and FM over-the-air signals. If we don’t change our own thinking about that along with the market, we unnecessarily limit ourselves; we exclude radio’s businesses and our own careers from potentially exciting growth.”
The broadcast radio industry is at a crossroads. The choice…view themselves as audio content businesses and proceed to foster, develop and expand as many new listening technologies as they can, or remain focused on AM/FM over the air signals, sacrificing other channels.
The demands that FM receiver chips be mandatory in cellphones as part of a deal broadcasters are striking with record labels is a wrong turn for broadcasters. Heavyweight industry associations are lining up against it – Consumer Electronics Association president Gary Shapiro is incandescent with rage. “Rather than adapt to the digital marketplace, NAB and RIAA act like buggy-whip industries that refuse to innovate and seek to impose penalties on those that do.”
In the UK radio listening is booming. Radio listening in the UK has reached an all time high of 46.5 million adults, or 90.6% of the UK population (15+), according to new data released by RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research).