Listening to BBC radio digitally has reached its highest proportion to date

Whilst millions continue to listen every day we’ve also been reinventing radio to expand our digital offer for the increasing number of online listeners.Bob Shennan
Date: 25.10.2018     Last updated: 26.10.2018 at 14.12
Listening to BBC radio digitally has reached its highest proportion to date, as our digital stations BBC Radio 6 Music and Radio 5 live sports extra continue to grow and BBC podcast downloads reach a record high

According to the latest RAJAR data, a record 51.4% of all BBC radio listening was on digital radio and platforms.

During this latest quarter (25 June - 16 September 2018), BBC Radio 6 Music had a 2.52 million listeners (up from 2.44m last quarter and up from 2.43m last year, and the station’s second highest reach). Lauren Laverne (10am-1pm) had a record reach of 1.11m.

BBC Radio 5 live sports extra reached 1.67 million weekly listeners (up from 1.17m last quarter and up from 1.64m last year).

Radio 4 Extra reached 2.01 million, up from 1.97m last quarter.

In spite of a hot summer - which tends to impact on listening numbers - Radio 1, Radio 3, Radio 4 and Radio 5 live all saw increased listeners over these summer months compared to last quarter. Radio 1’s weekly reach of listeners aged 10+ increased - on year and on quarter - to more than 10.5 million

Bob Shennan, Director of BBC Radio and Music, says: “More than 34m people tune in to BBC Radio each week and the latest figures shows we have both stabilised linear listening and grown digital. Whilst millions continue to listen every day we’ve also been reinventing radio to expand our digital offer for the increasing number of online listeners. We’ve focused on both digital live listening and on demand, and last month we had a record number of podcast downloads in the UK. Next week we launch BBC Sounds bringing more content than ever before to audiences on a new digital platform."

In September 2018 there was a record 26.5 million downloads of BBC podcasts in the UK. Of these, 14.7 million (also a record) were Radio 4 podcasts such as The Ratline and Friday Night Comedy. Radio 5 Live also had a record 4.7 million downloads of popular podcasts such as That Peter Crouch Podcast and Flintoff, Savage and the Ping Pong Guy.

All BBC Radio’s weekly reach over the period (Q3, 25 June - 16 September 2018) was 34.3 million (34.5m last quarter and 34.9m last year) and a share of 51.7% (51.7% last quarter and 52.1% last year).

BBC Radio 1 posted a reach of 9.6 million listeners (from 9.24m last quarter and 9.69m last year) - which rises to 10.56 m when listeners aged 10 and over are included (up on the quarter by 308,000 and on the year by 9,000) - while the network’s share of listening was 6% (from 5.9% last quarter and 5.9% last year). The Radio 1 Breakfast Show now attracts 5.75 million listeners (all listeners aged 10+), which is 79,000 fewer than last quarter and up 465,000 since last year.

BBC Radio 2’s weekly audience was 14.64 million (from 14.94m last quarter and 15.36m last year) while the station’s share of listening was 17.1% (17.9% last quarter and 17.5% last year). The Chris Evans Breakfast Show attracted 8.82 million listeners per week, compared to 9.04m last quarter and 9.35m last year.

BBC Radio 3’s audience was 1.93 million (from 1.91m last quarter and 1.96m last year) and its share was 1.2% (1.1% last quarter and 1.1% last year).

BBC Radio 4 posted a weekly reach of 10.64 million during the quarter (10.60m last quarter and 11.22m last year) and a share of 11.6% (11.7% last quarter and 11.8% last year). The Today programme (Monday - Saturday) has 6.98m million listeners each week, it was also 6.98m last quarter and 7.17m last year. In 2017 there was a record number of listeners during a period of significant news events with listening figures returning to usual levels. Over the last year we’ve seen approximately 15% increase in online live streaming and on demand listening. Alongside some of our popular news podcasts, such as Political Thinking and Brexitcast, it’s clear listeners turn to the BBC for trusted and comprehensive news coverage and are increasingly listening digitally.

BBC Radio 5 live posted a reach of 5.03 million listeners (4.73 m last quarter and 5.07m last year) and a share of 3.4% (3.1% last quarter and 3.4% last year).

Amongst digital-only stations, BBC Radio 1Xtra had a reach of 1.04m weekly listeners across the period (from 1.03m last quarter and 1.08 last year) - which rises to 1.12m when listeners aged 10+ are included, BBC Radio 6 Music drew 2.52 million listeners (from 2.44m last quarter and 2.43m last year), BBC Radio 4 Extra attracted 2.01 million listeners per week (from 1.96 m last quarter and 2.15m last year), and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra posted 1.67m listeners (from 1.17m last quarter and 1.64m last year).

BBC Asian Network drew 631,000 listeners, compared to 672,000 listeners last quarter and 662,000 last year.

The BBC World Service posted a weekly UK audience of 1.48million (from 1.51m last quarter and 1.49m last year).

BBC local radio reached 7.84 million listeners per week, from 7.87 m last quarter and 8.25m last year.