Digital listening has been boosted by the ‘record-breaking’ performances of digital-only stations, according to Rajar Q3 data.
In the third quarter, digital listening grew to a share of 45.5 per cent, a year-on-year growth of nine per cent, up from 41.9 per cent in Q3 2015.
Digital listening accounted for 71 per cent of all digital listening, with DAB ownership increasing to 57 per cent of all households, or 31 million people. This was an increase of seven per cent compared with the same period last year.
Online and apps accounted for 18 per cent of digital radio listening, while 11 per cent was now listened to through digital TV.
Following the launch of the second national DAB commercial network earlier this year, which broadcasts 18 national commercial stations, digital listening hours to national commercial radio grew by a quarter year on year and accounted for almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of all national commercial listening.
Digital listening accounted for more than half of all listening among 15 to 24-year-olds and 35 to 44-year-olds for the first time, with DAB leading the platform.
The most popular digital-only station was BBC 6 Music, with a weekly reach of 2.34 million listeners, followed by BBC Radio 4 with 2.04m.
In-car digital listening hours increased by 39 per cent to 60 million hours from 43m hours in Q3 2015. In Q3 this year, it accounted for 25.4 per cent of all listening – up from 19.3 per cent last year. This growth was accelerated by the rise in the percentage of new cars now fitted with digital radio as standard (86 per cent).
Ford Ennals (pictured), chief executive of Digital Radio UK, said: “Digital radio has created an even playing field for national stations and it’s great to see the record-breaking performances for the leading digital-only station BBC 6 Music and the new number one digital-only commercial station, Kisstory. The launch of 18 national commercial stations earlier this year on DAB has significantly expanded consumer choice and has helped boost digital listening to national commercial radio stations by 25 per cent with almost three quarters (73 per cent) of listening now being on a digital platform.”