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Radio is thriving but mobile and web listening is the future

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Radio, Broadcast, Mobile


Radio is thriving but mobile and web listening is the future

For a medium that's almost 100 years old, radio is in good health. In fact it shows no signs of going anywhere - in contrast to the existential threats from disruption elsewhere in the media landscape.

The latest RAJAR stats show that 1.6 million more people in the UK aged over 15 listened to radio each week in June - a total of 48.3 million, In other words, just over 90 percent of the total population of the UK over 15 listen to radio once a week.  

However, that doesn't mean how people listen to radio isn't changing: 

-- Digital device growth: The amount of radio listening via digital devices rose to 36.8 percent in June, up from 31.5 percent in June 2012. That growth has been consistant since 2007, as this graph from Adam Bowie's blog shows: 

RAJAR DIGITAL listening Adam Bowie blog

-- Online: Internet radio, via either apps or the web, is still a small percentage of total consumption, but it's grown from 4.6 percent of consumption to 6 percent over the last year. And while share of total listening remains small, the proportion of people who listen to radio online at least once a week has risen from  11.9 percent to 15.2 percent in the same period. 

-- Mobile: The proportion of people who have ever listened to radio on a mobile has risen to 23.5 percent, up from 17.5 percent a year ago and just 12.5 percent in Q2 2010. And as ever with digital transtition, the young are leading hte way: 42.9 percent of 15-to-25-year-olds have listened to radio on their mobiles

In his detailed look at the RAJAR figures on his blog, Adam Bowie attributes that mobile listening primarily to mobile apps rather than FM tuners built into handsets. As he says, the habits of under-25s suggest that traditional radio station listening via mobile is likely to keep growing, and there's a lot of room for internet radio as a whole to grow: 

Internet radio rajar adam bowie

Absolute + Bauer Media

Both Bauer Media and Abolute Radio trumpeted their latest listening figures by claiming record audiences. Absolute could boast 3.8 million listeners, while Bauer got more than 14 million. 

Those figures mean the takeover of Abolute by Bauer last month will give the enlarged group access to a huge chunk of the UK population and a big share of time spent - making digital listening an increasingly attractive proposition for advertisers.

And advertising spend on radio looks relatively secure too. As Martin Sorrell said earlier this year, radio spending is roughly in line with the amount of time consumers spend listening. If listening times increase, you'd expect ad money to flow that way too.  

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