The latest RAJAR results are out and once again there’s a flurry of press releases all putting a positive spin on the ratings. Each set of results is a decent snapshot of where radio is now but it’s always more illuminating to look at the longer-term trends.
1. Radio is remarkably robust.
Five years ago 91% of UK adults were listening to the radio for an average of 22 hours a week. Since then we’ve seen a boom in online based entertainment from Netflix to Spotify but radio is still just as popular with 90% of adults listening for an average of 21.7 hours a week. Given the population has risen than means there is actually more radio listening happening than 5 years ago.
2. Radio is going digital.
Listening to the radio on AM or FM is at an all time low
Listening to the radio digitally is at an all time high
Millions are now listening every week to digital only radio stations such as Radio 4 Extra, BBC 6 Music, Kisstory and Absolute 80s.
However the vast majority (two-thirds) of that digital listening is being done on DAB radios. Just 16% of digital radio listening is being done over the internet or through apps.
3. Radio has a younger person problem
Yes radio is holding up well overall but underneath the bonnet the amount of listening coming from 15-24 year olds is in decline.
The number of 15-24 year olds listening to the BBC is down 5.9% over the past 5 years
The number of 15-24 year olds listening to commercial radio is down 6.4% over the past 5 years
The amount of time a 15-24 year old listens to the BBC each week is down 18.9% over the past 5 years
The amount of time a 15-24 year old listening to commercial radio each week is down 11% over the past 5 years.
So overall radio is attracting less 15-24 year olds and those they do attract are listening less. It remains to be seen if these listeners will come to radio later than they used to or if they’re lost forever.
Source: RAJAR/Ipsos MORI/RSMB August 2015