There’s been a lot of talk about digital radio of late. Will the switch over happen? When? Is interest waning as other technological gadgetry enter the market and become more readily available?
The Quarter 1 2011 RAJAR data have been highly anticipated as it carries some key indicators which can help gauge the state of digital radio play.
Key to this is the DAB ownership question asked as part of the RAJAR data gathering process. Quarter 1 results appear to show the ‘Christmas effect’ – referred to in a previous Light Bite: This is the theory that DAB sets are given as gifts and ownership increase – and this year is no exception. In fact, it’s been rather good.
Last year, from Q4 ’09 to Q1 ’10, DAB ownership increased by 3.5% to just over 17.7 million, a modest increase in the context of the growth over 2009. However Christmas 2010 has been different, the growth nearly doubled on the previous year, increasing by 6.7% from 18.5 to 19.7 million. This increase of 1.2 million is the largest in absolutes since Christmas 2007.
Other positive news can be pulled from the Quarter 1 data:
- DAB reach is up from 24.4% to 26.5% - in other words, 19 million people tuned to the radio on a DAB set in an average week of Quarter 1 2011.
- Total Digital Share – the percentage of all radio hours recorded on any digital platform – has also increased, putting on 1.5% and now stands at 26.5%
- For the first time ever, RAJAR report that over 47 million of us, that’s 92% of the population aged 15 and over, listen to the radio in an average week. There have also been more hours recorded in Quarter 1 than ever before, the 1.058 billion hours is 12 million more than in Quarter 4 2010.
Could it be digital listening that is driving this record breaking quarter?
Total digital hours have increased by 18.8 million in the last three months and there are 1.4 million more people listening on a digital platform compared to last quarter. Compare this to listening via an AM/FM platform and it’s a different story, the total number of hours has actually decreased quarter on quarter while reach is up by just 380,000.
Certainly, the Government’s target of 50% listening on a digital platform is still some way off, however the numbers are creeping up.
So this is the Christmas Effect for Quarter 1 2011 – a boost for digital listening and some indication that DAB may not have been lost amongst the plethora of gadgetry. Quarter 2’s RAJAR results could well provide a further shot in the digital arm as we start to see what influence the new Radioplayer service has on online listening.