Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Who listens to radio?

Who listens to radio?

The radio industry is forever trying to convince us that digital radio is taking over the world and now accounts for most listening. Well, official figures released today by the UK Governments med agency, OFCOM, says quite clearly that this is not only untrue, but that its far wide or short of the claim.

The key points are:

1.  that radio listening is still a major part of 9 of ten people's lives:
  • On average, nine in ten adults (89.5%) tuned into the radio in 2014 and spent just over three hours listening each day (3 hours and 3 minutes). This is down by six minutes per week on average year on year.

2. Digital radio listening makes up less than half of radio listening in general in the UK,
This is hardly the huge success that the industry claims and nowhere near their own perceptions:
  • Digital listening accounts for 39.6% of all radio listening, up by 2.8 percentage points year on year.

3. There are only 8 national radio stations in the UK. 
Many more stations CLAIM to be national, but this is pure marketing hype, either to win more advertising or to calm their own investors, or maybe promotional statements.  The claims are certainly not as honest as one might expect of this senior medium. 
  • 332 local radio stations, 227 community radio stations and 8 UK-wide radio stations were broadcasting on analogue in May 2015. There were 25 UK-wide stations on DAB.

4. Streaming hasn't become the main choice of listeners, not yet anyway.
Just as many listeners in the 16-24 years age group use regular radio for music as listen to one of the streaming services:
  • Among regular music listeners aged 16-24, streaming services are as popular as radio stations. Around two fifths (39%) of this age group use streaming services to listen to music, similar to the proportion who listen to music on the radio.

What does it all mean?  Sure, radio is changing, it is becoming easier to listen digitally, but traditional radio still holds sway over much of the UK.  Full details of OFCOMs survey can be found via this link: