Jun 18, 2024 2 min read

Radio still dominant in UK audio consumption, except for the under 25s

RAJAR has published the results of its latest survey looking at audio consumption, and how music streaming and podcasts compare to live radio. For the under 25s, music services lead, accounting for 46% of listening. In podcasts, comedy programmes are most popular

Radio still dominant in UK audio consumption, except for the under 25s

RAJAR - the organisation that publishes official listening figures for the UK radio industry - has released the results of its latest MIDAS study, which looks at wider audio consumption trends, comparing things like music streaming and podcasts to more traditional radio. 

According to the survey, live radio still dominates in terms of audio consumption for the wider UK population, but there are significant differences by age group. 

For the over 25s, on average radio accounts for the majority of audio consumption each week, as high as 83% for the over 55s. However, for the under 25s, on-demand music services like Spotify are more dominant, accounting for 46% of listening. Live radio comes in at 36%, with podcasts accounting for 13% of consumption. 

Across the wider population, RAJAR reckons that 36% of consumers “tune into on-demand music services each week, listening for an average of eleven hours per listener”. 

Of those, 60% have a premium subscription with their service of choice. On average, 55% of listening happens on a smartphone and 25% on smart speakers, with laptops, tablets and TVs making up the remaining 20%. 

When it comes to podcasts, 21% of the population are consuming the medium, listening for an average of seven hours per week per listener. 

In terms of the kinds of podcasts being consumed, comedy is the most popular, with 31% of the podcast listeners surveyed stating that comedy programmes were their most listened to genre. News and politics came in second at 20.8% and sport at 18%.

Only 10.1% said music podcasts were their most listened to genre, which is possibly unsurprising. Spoken word podcasts are generally much more dominant, which is partly because consumers are more likely to choose live radio or a streaming service for music, although licensing issues have also made it tricky for the bigger podcast producers to make music-based programming. 

The survey also looked into what time of day people consume audio. Live radio still has its massive peak during the morning commute and then a second less significant surge during the afternoon commute. 

Other kinds of audio are listened to more consistently throughout the day. Podcasts have a slight peak during the morning commute too, although a little later than with radio for some reason, while on-demand streaming is most consumed late afternoon. 

The full RAJAR MIDAS study consulted 2143 consumers over the age of fifteen in April this year. It is a relatively small sample and the survey is only focused on standalone audio consumption, ignoring any audio consumed as part of video. Nevertheless, it still provides some interesting top level trends to consider.

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