Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, released a new market report that included data on Brits’ radio listening habits. The report found that live radio broadcasts accounted for the majority of most adults’ total listening time, but the figures were drastically different for the 16 to 24-year-old age bracket. For that group, radio was used for only 24 percent of listening. Streaming music online and listening to a personal digital music collection each accounted for 30 percent of listening in this bracket, showing interest in digital formats over radio. The next group up, 25 to 34-year-olds, had less than half the interest in digital. Those respondents spent just 14 percent of their time listening to their personal digital collection and only 4 percent on streaming services.
This survey, which logged a week of listening activity of 17,290 people, shows a bit of a cultural divide between the UK and the U.S.
Consider Edison Research’s ‘share of ear’ study from May 2014, which tracked a 24-hour listening diary for 2,096 Americans aged 13 and older. The AM/FM radio listening across all respondents was 52.1 percent, while online streaming garnered 11.6 percent and all formats of owned music totaled 20.3 percent. Across the pond, the Ofcom study found that the total percentage for live radio was a whopping 71 percent. Streaming accounted for 6 percent and the owned digital and physical music combined to 18 percent.
The common thread between these countries, however, is that the big shift is happening with young listeners. Another U.S. study from Edison focused on the 18 to 34-year-old age group also showed a battle between FM radio and the convenience of streaming. No matter the nationality, those young listeners are a good indicator of where the industry is going to go, and right now, it’s all about digital.