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Local Radio Listening Up by 20 Percent

Numbers presented by the Norwegian Media Authority today show a significant increase in the number of listeners last year for local radio. At the same time, overall listening time is falling and NRK decreases most.

According to numbers provided by Kantar Media, most local radios participating in the survey have seen a stable development or growth last year. In all, there has been a 20 percent growth in daily local radio listening from Q4 of 2016 to Q4 of 2017.

– This indicates that the radio digitization has contributed to the growth in radio listening for local radio, says NMA Director Mari Velsand.

Growth in Four of Six Regions Four of six regions have seen increased local radio listening when comparing listening numbers from Q4 2017 against the same period the year before. In Nordland local radio listening went up from 7,3 to 8,6 percent. Trøndelag and Møre og Romsdal show an increase from 12,6 to 14,4 percent, while in Telemark, Buskerud, Hedmark and Oppland there has been an increase from 9,9 to 15,3 percent. Sogn and Fjordane, Hordaland, Rogaland, Vest-Agder and Aust-Agder have seen a increase from 13,9 to 14,4 percent.

In Østfold, Vestfold, Oslo and Akershus the listening has declined from 14,9 to 8,9 percent. This decrease must be seen in relation to major channels like P5, P7 Klem and NRJ not being part of the survey for Q4 and only being measured for two out of three months in Q3 2017.

In Troms and Finnmark, there has also been a decline in local radio listening, from 8,1 to 7,4 percent. In this region the national FM signals were shut down as late as December 13 last year. The effect of the FM shut-down will therefore be apparent only when listening numbers for Q1 in 2018 are ready.

Overall Radio Listening Down

Despite the local radio growth, there has been a decline in total radio listening from Q4 2016 to Q4 2017 in five regions. Troms and Finnmark is the only region with more radio listeners in Q4 2017 compared to the same period the year before. In this region, total radio listening increased from 62,2 to 67,4 percent this period.

NRK are losing listeners in all regions while the P4 Group and Bauer Media both see a more stable development. “Traditional” channels like Radio Norge, P4 and the NRK channels P1, P2 and P3 are all losing listeners to the niche channels from NRK, P4 and Bauer Media in all six regions. Among the niche channels are for instance P7 Klem, NRK P1+ and Radio Rock.

– A decline in radio listening in 2017 due to the radio digitization is not an unexpected consequence. It also seems natural for NRK to experience the largest decline, since their FM broadcasts were shut down first in most regions, says Velsand.

The Norwegian Media Authority expects the total radio listening to increase slightly and then stabilise through 2018.

– We will be following this development closely to see how both listeners and the radio market are adapting to the new radio reality. Further room for development for both national and local radio channels should be the ambition. This is important in the perspective of diversity and free speech, says Velsand.

Listener numbers on a regional level, Q4 2017 compared to Q4 2016

  • Total growth of 20 percent in daily listeners for the local radioes
  • Several local radio stations have seen strong growth since the shut-down of FM broadcasts for nationwide national channels (see the NMA report for numbers on single channels).
  • Radio listening has increased in some regions and decreased in others: - Nordland has an increase from 7,3 to 8,6 percent - Trøndelag and Møre og Romsdal have an increase from 12,6 to 14,4 percent - Telemark, Buskerud, Hedmark and Oppland have an increase from 9,9 to 15,3 percent - Sogn og Fjordane, Hordaland, Rogaland, Vest-Agder and Aust-Agder have an increase from 13,9 to 14,4 percent - Østfold, Vestfold, Oslo and Akershus have a decrease from 14,9 to 8,9 percent* - Troms and Finnmark have a decrease from 8,1 to 7,4 percent. In Troms and Finnmark the nationwide FM broadcasts were shut down on December 13, 2017
  • Total radio listening declines in five of six regions, increasing in Troms and Finnmark only (from 65,2 to 67,4 percent). See the NMA report for numbers from other regions
  • NRK are losing listeners in all regions, while the P4 Group and Bauer Media generally have a stable development
  • There are fewer listeners to the five “traditional”** channels, while niche channels*** are increasing their listeners

Source: Kantar Media, Status Report 2017 (Forbruker & Media)

* This decline should be seen in relation to major channels like P5, P7 Klem and NRJ not being part of the survey for Q4 2017. These are measured in only two of three months in Q3 2017. ** “Traditional” channels include NRK channels P1, P2 and P3, P4 and Radio Norge. *** Niche channels include other NRK, P4 Group and Bauer Media Channels, for instance NRK P1+, P7 Klem and Radio Rock. See the NMA report for a full channel list.

Overview of listening figures from NMA

PPM-data from Kantar Media

Status report for radio broadcasting from Kantar Media

Pressrelease 1/2017: Decline in Radio Listening Figures after the Digital Switchover

Pressrelease 2/2017: Stable Radio Listening Figures since September

Pressrelease 3/2017: Significant Change in Radio Listening Habits after Digital Switchover