News Center >

Nielsen: UAE radio consumption remains steady in Q1 2019; 93% of population tunes into radio every week

4 minute read | June 2019

Dubai, UAE – June 11, 2019 – According to Nielsen, a global measurement and data analytics company, 93% of the total UAE population aged 10 and above tuned into radio every week in the first quarter of 2019, which is on par with tune-in during the previous quarter. UAE residents and nationals listened to 60 million hours of radio in this period. The first-quarter measurement covers all radio listening from 2nd January 2019 to 31st March 2019.

Nielsen’s UAE Radio Audience Measurement measures listenership of 52 radio stations across the country among all individuals aged 10+. While Q4 2018 results showed a significant increase in listenership from the hot summer months of Q3 2018, data from the first quarter of this year shows consistency on the overall listenership. Listenership in Dubai and Northern Emirates continued to grow at 2% and 4%, respectively. Abu Dhabi remained the strongest of all the Emirates in the first quarter of 2019, with almost universal reach—99.8%—of Abu Dhabi residents listening to radio in an average week. In Dubai, 92% of residents listen in an average week, and 88% in Northern Emirates. Sharjah is the only Emirate that saw a decline in reach from the previous quarter (86% vs. 91.8%).

There have been no significant shifts in the listening levels across all nationality groups. Arabs continue to be heavy listeners and highest reached group at 99%, followed by Westerners at 96%, South Asians at 91% and Filipino and other East Asians at 88%. Filipino and other East Asians are the only groups that showed a shift of more than 1%.

In Q1 2019, radio listening between 8 p.m.-12 a.m. remained higher than at any of the other peak times during the day, giving advertisers many more opportunities to reach their target audience through smart radio planning. 

Overall comparison between Q1 of 2018 and Q1 2019 shows that listenership levels in Q1’19 were slightly lower than in Q1’18 (95% reach in Q1 18 vs. 93% reach in Q1 19). The average daily listening time has dropped by just 5 mins.

“Businesses in the UAE have had a challenging start to 2019, with reports of a difficult outlook ahead this year.  The impact of this in the long term is still unknown, but our UAE RAM data for Quarter 1 has some indicators for the radio industry, says Sarah Messer, Director of Media for Nielsen MENA. The impact of this in the long term is still unknown, but our UAE RAM data for Quarter 1 has some indicators for the radio industry, says Sarah Messer, Director of Media for Nielsen MENA.  

Whilst the UAE has unfortunately seen a couple of radio stations closing down in Q1, what we see in audience listening habits is people are still tuning in, in large numbers every week.  Q1 19 audience reach is at a similar high level to the previous quarter (Q4 18) and year on year listening levels seen in Q1 2018. For advertisers this means they can still reach vast numbers of UAE residents effectively by targeting them in key radio listening day parts using the RAM detailed audience demographics, and maximise the impact of their radio spends.”

Please reach out to Nielsen Media team for guidance and help in how to make the best use of the UAE RAM data for your audience targeting and radio planning:

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global measurement and data analytics company that provides the most complete and trusted view available of consumers and markets worldwide. Our approach marries proprietary Nielsen data with other data sources to help clients around the world understand what’s happening now, what’s happening next, and how to best act on this knowledge. For more than 90 years Nielsen has provided data and analytics based on scientific rigor and innovation, continually developing new ways to answer the most important questions facing the media, advertising, retail and fast-moving consumer goods industries.

An S&P 500 company, Nielsen has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit

ABOUT UAE RADIO AUDIENCE MEASUREMENT (RAM)UAE RAM starts with a strong foundation of a continuous Establishment Survey, which now consists of 23,920 face to face interviews across all seven emirates in the UAE. The Establishment Survey enables Nielsen to determine population dynamics and ensure its collection of radio data is balanced and representative. A ‘hybrid diary’ methodology is used for the research, introducing both a traditional paper diary and an innovative electronic diary to respondents, to measure robust information on radio listening. Every quarter, 2,100 people aged 10 and above, representing all nationalities and languages across the emirates are asked to record their radio listening activities for seven consecutive days. They record their listening in 15-minute time-slots for the entire week in their chosen diary format.Nielsen’s UAE RAM data covers a range of demographic and lifestyle insights which can be combined with all the radio-listening behaviour metrics captured, including household demography, program ranking, time spent listening, device used for listening, place of listening, ebb and flow reports and station loyalty. For more information on UAE RAM, visit