The big news from the UK this week might be the election, but over the weekend an article in the Financial Times had people talking about radio.
Under the headline, “Golden age for UK radio as number of listeners hits record high,” the story looks at the success of the UK radio industry in light of record listening figures, and how this unprecedented boom in listening is being driven by the expansion of digital platforms.
The article resulted in follow up stories from the Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail and on Radio 4’s PM Programme (from 0:21:00).
Digital radio has helped drive a surge in radio listening, with the BBC and commercial radio both seeing the benefits. The last set of RAJAR results for the final quarter of 2016 showed that 48 million adults listened to over one billion hours of radio each week – a record high.
There are now 339 digital stations in the UK, digital listening is soon expected to cross the 50% threshold and almost 32 million DAB receivers have been sold across the country.
Audience growth has also translated into success for the commercial sector, Global (the largest of the three main groups in the UK) has an average of 24 million listeners each week and saw revenues in 2016 grow 4% to £276m. Bauer Media has a weekly reach of 17.6 million listeners, with 56.1% of listening delivered via a digital device. Meanwhile the BBC’s digital-only stations go from strength to strength, with 6 Music boasting over 2.3 million weekly listeners and Radio 4 Extra attracting 2.18 million.
Listeners in the UK clearly value quality and choice, delivered by brands and people they know and trust.
Radio broadcasters in all markets need to collaborate on technology and compete on content – the key to success in DAB is to take a proactive, innovative approach. The UK continues to provide a great example of what’s possible when the industry works together.