Connected devices spur growth of commercial radio - Rajar

Mark Johnson's picture
by Mark Johnson

The number of listeners tuning-in to commercial radio is at a 20 year high, thanks in part to smart speakers and other connected devices, according to industry body, Rajar.

The latest reading of the sector saw commercial radio achieve its biggest share of the market since the 1990s, with a share of listening hours at 48.1%, up 5.3% year-on-year from 45.7%.

Following a strong first half of the year, commercial radio has cemented this growth with reach of 35.9m people in the UK every week, up from 35.8m in the same quarter last year. 

Commercial radio’s average weekly hours are now at 13.2, up from 13.1 in Q3 2018.  

Digital rise

Across all of radio, the share of listening via connected devices (online and via apps) was up 35.4% year-on-year, from 9.6% to 13%, supported by the rise of smart speakers. 

Digital listening’s overall share (including DAB and digital TVs) rose 8.4% from 52.4% in Q3 2018 to 56.8%, with 65% of the population now tuning in to digital radio every week. 

Overall radio listening remains steady with nine out of ten people (88% of the population) tuning in to live radio each week for an average of 20.4 hours. 

The new figures follow the launch of Radiocentre’s new ad campaign with The&Partnership, which calls on advertises to recognise the strength of the platform by parodying the tropes of the digital world. 

“With radio continuing to hold the nation’s attention against increasing competition in the news and entertainment sectors, it’s great that commercial radio continues to grow audience”, Siobhan Kenny, Radiocentre Chief Executive, said. 

“This is down to the variety of stations and programming on offer, as well as investment in listening in the digital era. 

“It’s a good time for listeners – and a good time for advertisers to look at what radio can do for their brands.”

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