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Digital radio listening climbs to 26.9%

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Pure DAB radio
Radio listening via digital platforms accounted for 26.9% of all listening in the first quarter of 2011, while overall radio consumption reached record levels.

According to new figures from audience measurement body RAJAR, 22.1 million people listened to radio services on digital every week in the three months to June 30, up 10.7% year-on-year.

Radio listening via digital platforms now accounts for 26.9% of all usage, an increase of 0.4% on the previous quarter's figures and up from 24.6% in the same period last year.

RAJAR said that the increase reflected a 14.3% year-on-year growth in the number of digital listening hours - from 253 million hours in Q2 2010 to 289m hours last quarter.

Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) remains the most popular digital platform, accounting for 26.3% of all listening, down slightly on 26.5% in the previous quarter, but up from 23.5% in Q2 2010.

Over the three months, 20.2 million adults (aged 15+) claimed to live in a household with a DAB set, or 38.9% of the UK population, up from 18.2m in Q2 2010 and just 7.6m in Q2 2006.

Listening via digital TV platforms, such as Sky and Freeview, reached 14.4% in the quarter, down from 14.5% in the previous three months, but up from 13.1% in Q1 2010. Internet listening was also down to 9.6% of all digital listening from 10.2% in the previous quarter, but up from 8.2% in the same period last year.

Despite the growth in consumption, digital radio services still lag well behind the levels hoped for by the government and the radio industry. Ministers have made a loose commitment to starting the UK's switch from analogue to digital radio by 2015, but that will only go ahead if digital accounts for 50% of all listening.

Overall, a total of 47.6m adults, or 91.7% of the UK population, tuned in to their favourite radio station each week in the second quarter of 2011, which is the highest weekly reach since records began in 1992.

The total number of weekly radio listening hours again broke all previous records to reach 1,076 million per week, or 22.6 hours per listener.

Radio listening on mobile phones increased by 16.1% year-on-year, with 14.5% of adults claiming to have listened to radio via a mobile device in Q2 2011. In the 15-24 demographic, that increased to 31% of those surveyed, with 14.8% claiming to do so once a week and 3.3% listening every day.

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