LONDON — Digital radio use in the UK reached 49.9%, a growth of 10% compared to 45.2% in Q4 2016, according to RAJAR Q4 2017 data.
The growth was driven by a surge in use of the digital outlets for commercial radio stations, which for the first time exceed 50% — now at 51.6%, and up from 45% in Q4 2016. Use of BBC’s digital outlets grew to 48.3% from 45.5% in Q4 2016, with BBC Radio 4 exceeding 50% digital use for the first time at 50.7%. Its sister station, BBC Radio 4 Extra, reached 2.26 million listeners, a new record.
All digital radio outlets grew, with the fastest growth this quarter set by online/apps which increased by 13.2% in hours to account for 8.5% share of all radio listening, and 17% of digital listening. The majority of digital radio use comes from DAB over-the-air radio which grew 9.2% in hours to account for 36.3% share of all radio listening and 72.8% of digital listening. Listening via digital television grew 3.3% in hours to account for 5.1% share of all listening and for 10.2% of digital listening.
The use of digital outlets within the demo of 10-64 years olds is now 52.8%, and for the first time all individual age groups under 65 (10-14; 15-24s; 35-44s; 45- 54s; 55-64 year olds) have digital share of over 50%.
Across the UK, use of digital outlets for national stations increased by 7.3% year-over-year to 58%, and local digital listening hours reached 34.7%, up 13.7% from Q4 2016.
In-car digital radio use grew by 25% year over year, an increase of 15.9 million hours, and reached a new record share of 32%. DAB radio listening in cars contributed to 50% of all DAB digital listening growth.