Advanced Television

BBC Sounds sees record audiences

February 1, 2024

Between October and December 2023, BBC Sounds data shows a record average weekly audience of 4.86 million listened to the BBC’s content on the platform, with a peak of 4.96 million weekly users. Christmas music contributed to a record 6.2 million plays for music mixes on BBC Sounds, up 32 per cent from 2022, and there was a record 231 million plays of on-demand radio and podcasts.

The RAJAR figures for Q4 2023 show how people across the UK continue to flock to the BBC’s live radio services, with 31.29 million people tuning in each week for live output across the stations, with a share of 43.2 per cent. The industry wide figures also confirm changes in the overall trends, including how digital listening is now at all time high with 42.8 million, and how podcasts are reaching record audiences of 11.4 million.

Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer, commented: “Audiences have been waking up with BBC Radio as they choose to tune in to our brilliant breakfast shows for news, entertainment and company. Radio 2 remains the biggest station, and congratulations to Vernon Kay who as the host of the most popular radio show in the UK, inspired people up and down the country with his triumphant BBC Children in Need Ultra ULTRA Marathon, raising over £6m.

“There’s fierce competition for people’s time and with the success of the global streamers and digital listening reaching record levels, we know that audience habits are changing and they expect more choice and control over their content. I’m pleased that BBC Sounds continues to grow as audiences discover on-demand programming from us whenever they want to, and are able to choose from a wide range of high-quality BBC podcasts and music content to suit their moods,” added Moore.


According to RAJARs, BBC Radio 1 had 8.1 million listeners aged 10+ and the Radio 1 Breakfast Show with Greg James (Mon-Fri) had 4.29 million 10+ listeners.

BBC Radio 2 had 13.28 million listeners with 6.56 million tuning in for The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show.

BBC Radio 3 had 1.78 million listeners.

BBC Radio 4 had 9.12 million listeners with 5.7 million tuning in for The Today programme (Mon-Sat).

BBC Radio 5 Live posted a reach of 5.25 million listeners.

BBC Radio 6 Music had 2.52 million listeners.

BBC Radio 1Xtra had 718k listeners, BBC Radio 4 Extra had 1.46 million, BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra had 1.55 million, and BBC Asian Network had 448k.

The BBC World Service was listened to by 1.07 million people, and BBC Nations radio and Local BBC Radio in England had a combined audience of 6.99 million.

BBC Sounds

Christmas music contributed to a record 6.2 million plays for music mixes on BBC Sounds, up 32 per cent from last year.

Listeners tuning into th BBC’s Christmas music offering helped drive another record quarter on BBC Sounds, with 617 million plays of all content across radio, podcasts and music mixes on the platform between October and December 2023.

There was also a record 231 million plays of on demand radio and podcasts.

  • With a range of titles from across the BBC, Christmas music proved popular with listeners over the festive period driving a record 6.2 million plays of music mixes on BBC Sounds this quarter, followed by The Sleeping Forecast, Mindful Mix, Sounds of the 90s with Fearne Cotton and Cillian Murphy’s Limited Edition.
  • The top ten most popular on demand radio programmes for all ages is made up entirely of BBC Radio 4 shows including Desert Island Discs, In Our Time, I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue and Life Changing.
  • Audio dramas proved popular this quarter with The Archers, Drama on 4, Whodunnits and The Lovecraft Investigations all among the top ten most listened to on demand radio programmes.
  • Newscast and Uncanny were the most popular podcasts for all ages and for listeners under 35 this quarter, with You’re Dead To Me, Just One Thing with Michael Mosley, Intrigue: Million Dollar Lover and Limelight also included in both lists.
  • New flagship music podcast from the BBC Sidetracked with Annie and Nick had one of the highest proportion of listeners under 35, along with popular sports titles including new football strand The Players Channel, Tailenders and Match Of The Day: Top Ten.
  • There were 222 million downloads for BBC podcasts around the world this quarter, with The Global News Podcast the most popular on third party platforms followed by Newscast.

Categories: Articles, Consumer Behaviour, Digital Radio, Research

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