Norway’s radio transition: Benefits the newcomers

Av Mari Hagerup
The digitalization of Norwegian radio has given the audience a wide variety of channels to choose from, and they seem to appreciate the diversity. A clear trend in Norway’s radio transition is that the new digital channels have increased their support at the expense of the big channels. Radio listening in total is almost as before, however increasingly digital.


Small, but growing

One of the digital only channels who has seen a steady growth is NRK P1+, a channel for senior listeners. It has increased its market share from 4,4 percent in the first half of 2016, to 6,9 percent in 2017. Other examples of channels that have been embraced by audience are Radio Vinyl (Bauer) and P10 Country (MTG). They have been on air only since January this year, but keep growing month by month.
2.1 million Norwegians listen every week to channels that would not exist without the digital switch over.

“Digitization provides more radio channels across the country. This gives the listeners more channels to choose from, and will secure the radio medium a strong and relevant medium in the years to come,” says Ole Jørgen Torvmark, CEO of Digitalradio Norway.

The radio industry believes that overall listening in Norway would be lower today without digitization and that the radio switchover will strengthen the radio medium for the years to come.

Listening via DAB keeps increasing, from 47 percent in 2016 to 62 percent of all radio listening in 2017. Listening via other digital platforms comes in addition. In total, digital listening represents 73 percent of all daily radio listening.

 

Better than expected

On January 11th 2017, national radio broadcast on FM was switched off in the Nordland region. This started a nationwide FM switch off that will make Norway the first country in the world with full digital radio broadcasts

The radio industry was prepared for the switchover to create a temporary decrease in total radio listening throughout 2017, as the population needs time to convert to digital.

This is also reflected in the total numbers of listeners, which declined 2.7 percentage points during the first six months of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. 65.9 percent of Norwegians listened to radio daily in the first half of 2017, 68.8 percent in the first half of 2016. Listening hours remains stable with 125 minutes both years.

 

“The figures are actually slightly better than expected. We’ve been expecting to lose  listeners temporarily, but expect us to return to 2016 levels next year,” says Torvmark.

 

DAB-listening is dominating at home

The number of DAB radios has grown by one million devices since January. 78 percent of the population has at least one DAB radio, according to the Digital Radio Survey from Kantar TNS (week 19, 2017). Norway now has more than one million cars with DAB and 49 percent of all car owners who listen to the radio daily have DAB in the car already.

Most of radio-listening happens at home.  44% of daily radio listeners now use DAB radio at home, while 17% use FM radio. The survey was carried out by Kantar TNS, when 34.6 percent of the households no longer had FM-radio-transmissions from public service-broadcaster NRK.

 

 

 

4 out of 6 regions have completed their transition to DAB and digital only.

 

Background figures

 

Radio Survey (PPM):

  • 65,9 % of Norwegians listened to radio daily in the first half of 2017
  • 68,8 % listened to radio during the first half of 2016.
  • Listening-hours among listeners remains stable for 125 minutes per day both periods.
  • 22,3% of radio broadcasting took place on the new digital radio channels in the first half of 2017. (16.4% in 2016)

P1, P2, P3, P4 and Radio Norway accounted for the remaining 77.7% of the listening (83.6% in 2016).

 

Digital radio survey:

78 percent of households have one (or more) DAB radios

Total DAB radios 4,133,000 in the country. This has increased by one million since the shutdown began.

38 per cent of households have DAB radio in the car

This corresponds to more than one million cars. 49% of car owners who listen to the radio daily have DAB in the car.

73 percent of the daily radio listeners use digital radio

This corresponds to more than 2 million Norwegians. DAB 62%, internet 22%, digital TV 12% and FM 52%. 44% of the daily radio listeners use DAB radio home, 17% use FM radio at home.