Digital radio listening up 14% backed by increase in DAB sets

Digital radio listening in the UK rose by 14% over the last year, with 17.7m people now tuning in to 213m hours a week, according to figures from industry body Rajar.

The figures for Q3 2009 showed listening through digital platforms was up from 15.9m in Q3 2008 but down 1% from the previous quarter.

According to the figures, the public is also waking up to the advantages of digital radio, with ownership of DAB increasing 14% year on year, with 16.6m households having a DAB receiver, compared to 14.5m a year ago.

Listening via a mobile device also grew as more enabled handsets have been produced, with a climb of 7.5% to 6.9m in Q3 2009, from 6.4m in the third quarter of 2008. Figures for listening via the internet remain disappointingly low with just 2.2% of the UK population doing so.

Andrew Harrison, CEO of the Radio Centre, said, “It’s encouraging for radio’s future to see DAB set ownership now in a third of all homes and listening via mobile phone also remaining strong. As radio prepares to play a full role in consumers’ lives in a Digital Britain, our presence on these devices is great news.”

Overall radio listening in the UK showed healthy growth during the third quarter, with 45.7m listeners or 89.2% of the UK tuning in to commercial or BBC stations.

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