Beat listeners swapped their stereos for smart speakers in 2020 as disrupted routines and a series of innovative digital-awareness campaigns influenced radio consumption. The total listening hours on Beat’s digital streams were up 62% year on year, while Active Listening Sessions grew by an impressive 48%. The takeaway number, however, was Smart Speaker Listening Hours which skyrocketed by 569% over 2019’s total listening figure. Beat’s digital audience had been demonstrating impressive growth in recent years, particularly since the launch of the regional radio station’s digital-only channel Noughty Beats.
Covid-19 disrupted how Beat followers consumed radio as listeners swapped the morning commute for remote working. Car stereos were replaced by smartphones and smart speakers as news-hungry listeners switched-on from home for reliable, trusted, and vital information that entertained at a time when we needed it most. Beat’s digital offerings sustained this growth trend throughout the latter half of 2020, culminating in an innovative festive Smart Speaker campaign on air and online in which the regional radio station playfully advised listeners on “What not to say to your smart speaker!”
Commenting on Beat’s digital listening explosion, Head of Station Sound, Niall Power said: “Whilst Beat has dominated FM listening across the South East for almost eighteen years, 2020 was the year we saw a big shift to digital listening as lifestyles changed. Research shows that people consume more audio after they purchase a smart speaker – and we’re certainly seeing that on our channels with smart speaker listening now overtaking both mobile and desktop listening for the first time.
“We’re proud to offer two very distinct services to our listeners digitally – the full-service Beat 102-103 and the more music-driven Noughty Beats.”