Radio revenues are set to rise modestly this year while smart speaker adoption leaps, according to predictions by Deloitte which claims radio could hold fast against digital disruption.
Global radio revenue is forecast to grow by 1 per cent to £31.6bn in 2019 with smart speakers predicted to see a 63 per cent year-on-year growth in sales, the professional services firm has forecast.
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Deloitte also predicts that 3bn people worldwide will listen to the radio on a weekly basis in 2019.
It counts the UK as the fifth largest market for radio revenues, netting £1.3bn in 2017 compared to the £17.2bn bagged by US radio stations.
The BBC dominates local radio in the UK, but faces growing competition from commercial radio stations such as LBC, part of Global, and Talkradio, part of the News UK-owned Wireless Group.
Deloitte also predicts that around 47m people in the UK will listen to radio weekly – reaching 90 per cent of adults, including 83 per cent of 15-24 year olds and 88 per cent of 25-34 year olds.
Deloitte global head of research for technology, media and telecoms Paul Lee said: “Radio advertising is underestimated, with many unaware of the influence it holds for brands.
“As traditional media and television viewing figures continue to struggle, listening figures for radio are holding steady.
“Radio will continue to play an integral role in advertising campaigns for years to come. In a world where digital changes everything, radio may be the exception.”
The success of radio was partly put down to people’s ability to listen to it while doing other activities.
In its 2019 predictions for smart speakers, devices that have caught the ear of several news outlets, Deloitte forecast it would be the “fastest-growing connected device”.
In a statement on Deloitte’s smart speaker predictions, Lee said: “Smart speaker adoption has seen phenomenal growth in recent years.
“With improvements continuing to be made, demand for smart speakers could be in the many billions of units, possibly even higher than for smartphones.
“In the future, smart speakers have the potential to be installed in every room in a house, hotel, office, school and even beside every hospital bed.”
Deloitte expects the 63 per cent year-on-year growth of the smart speaker market to generate £5.6bn of global revenues and sell 164m units this year, up from 98m last year.
It said approximately 6.2m UK adults had access to a smart speaker by the middle of 2018.
The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism Digital News Report published last year found that 43 per cent of smart-speaker users got news through smart speakers.