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Stable development in national radio listening in 2018

Radio listening was expected to increase towards the end of 2019 and then stabilise. The latest listening figures from the Norwegian Media Authority, however, do not support this expectation. – The development in 2018 has been relatively stable, says Mari Velsand, Director General at the Norwegian Media Authority.

October 15th 2018

The listening figures show a clear decline in daily radio listeners and listening time on national channels in recent years, especially compared to the year prior to the FM switch-off. The population share of daily listeners for national channels has dropped from 63.2 percent in 2017 to 55.9 percent so far in 2018. In 2016, prior to the FM switch-off, the percentage of daily listeners was 67.6 percent. The quarterly development in listening time has been relatively stable so far in 2018, averaging 72 minutes of daily listening. However, this is a decline compared to previous years as daily listening time was 79 minutes in 2017 and 85 minutes in 2016.

– It will be interesting to follow developments in the radio market in 2019 to see whether listening habits change, says Velsand.

Niche channels consolidate their position

After the FM switch-off in 2017, the trend experienced by the main channels of NRK, the P4 group and Bauer Media has been a decline in the number of radio listeners, while the niche channels have increased the number of radio listeners. Listening figures from the third quarter of 2018 show that the niche channels have consolidated their position vis-a-vis the main channels, and that this pattern appears to have stabilised. The population share of daily listeners for the main channels has remained comparatively stable over the past six months, with a listener share of 43.7 percent in March and 43.2 percent in September. The niche channels experienced a slight decrease from 30.3 to 29.3 percent during the same time period. Compared to the third quarter of 2016, before the FM swith-off, the main channels have in the third quarter of 2018 experienced a decline in daily listeners of 18.7 percentage points, while the niche channels have increased their share by 8.1 percentage points.

From March to September this year, NRK experienced a decrease in daily listeners of 2 percentage points, while P4 increased its share by 0.8 percent and Bauer remained in the same position.

In the third quarter of 2810, NRK experienced a decrease in the number of daily listeners equivalent to 11 percentage points compared to the third quarter of 2016. During this same time period, the P4 group lost 4.9 percent of its daily listeners, while Bauer Media reduced its share by 2.8 percentage points.

NRK experiences the greatest loss in listening time since FM swith-off

Listening time for the national channels has been relatively stable so far in 2018. The listening time for the main channels was 48 minutes in March and 47 minutes in September, while listening time for the niche channels was 26 minutes in March and 24 minutes in September. Compared to the third quarter of 2016, there has been a clear decrease in listening time of 22 minutes for the main channels, while the niche channels have experienced an increase in listening time of 9 minutes during this same time period.

With regard to the various radio groups, NRK has had a decline of 3 listening minutes from March to September this year (from 51 to 48 minutes), while the P4 group experienced an increase (from 16 to 17 minutes). The number of listening minutes for Bauer Media dropped by 1 minute (from 8 to 7 minutes) during this time period.

From the third quarter in 2016 to the third quarter in 2018, NRK lost 9 minutes, the P4 group 2 minutes and Bauer Media 1 minute of listening time.

The listener figures presented by the Norwegian Media Authority were prepared by Kantar Media. The quarterly listening figures for local radio will be published around 20 October 2018.

Norwegian Media Authority PPM figures for September 2018

Kantar Media radio listening figures for September 2018 (Excel)

Main development in national radio listening by third quarter of 2018

Development in population share of daily listeners - Last two years: 64.8 percent in Q3 2016 - 53.7 percent in Q3 2018 - Last year: 60.0 percent in Q3 2017 - 53.7 percent in Q3 2018 - Last six months: 57.4 percent in March - 56.3 percent in September
Development in listening time - Last two years: 84 minutes in Q3 2016 - 72 minutes in Q3 2018 - Last year: 77 minutes in Q3 2017 - 72 minutes in Q3 2018 - Last six months: 74 minutes in March - 72 minutes in September

The listener numbers (PPM - Portable People Meter) reflect the number of people exposed to or who listen to specific radio channels