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Radio listening during Ramadan accounted for 28% of listening in the UAE through Q2 2019

4 minute read | August 2019

Dubai, UAE – Aug. 21, 2019: Nielsen, a global measurement and data analytics company today revealed that during the four weeks of the Holy Month of Ramadan, radio listening accounted for 28% of all radio listening in the second quarter of 2019. Interestingly, listening in these four weeks decreased for some nationalities, specifically Emiratis and Expat Arabs who were fasting and observing Ramadan prayers and fasting hours at this time. Peak time hours also shifted to later in the day and were extended, similar to the listening patterns we saw in 2018 Ramadan weeks. 

According to Nielsen’s second-quarter UAE Radio Audience Measurement (UAE RAM), which was conducted from April 1 to June 30, 2019, much of the listening during Ramadan was seen among Indians and South Asians, and people aged 25-44 years old, while listening levels for Emiratis and Expat Arabs dropped during the Ramadan weeks compared with other weeks within the same quarter. 

Measuring the whole UAE population’s listenership to 51 radio stations across the country, Nielsen’s UAE RAM found that listening to religious stations during Ramadan was higher during day time (6 a.m. to 11 a.m.) and listening faded as the day progressed. The peak time of listening during this Holy Month dips in reach levels around 7 p.m., coinciding with Iftar timings and the norm of breaking fast with family and friends at home. Listening levels start to rise again later in the evening between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., as people tend to head out after Iftar for prayers and Suhr.

Looking at the entire second-quarter, radio reached 92% of the UAE population, a slight decline from the previous quarter (93%) due to public holidays and vacation period during the schools’ Spring break in the first few weeks of April, as well as Ramadan and the long Eid al Fitr holidays.

In this quarter, the population’s engagement with the medium remained high with 56.2 million hours of radio listened to across all seven emirates in an average week. Additionally, listeners tuned in for an average of 7 hours and 23 minutes each week.

Radio listenership continues to vary by location, with the latest quarter results reporting a slightly lower reach in Dubai (88% vs 92%) and Northern Emirates (82% vs 88%); a total of 120,000 listeners fewer than in Q1 2019, while Sharjah saw a 4% increase, reaching 66,000 more listeners, and Abu Dhabi is still the location where radio is the most popular, with 100% reach. Listeners in Dubai, Sharjah and the Northern Emirates region, which includes Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah, clock in over 7 hours and 30 minutes tuning into radio in an average week, while listening activity in Abu Dhabi remains lower at an average of close to 6 hours a week.

“With our Q2 2019 radio measurement, we have our second year of listening collected during Ramadan weeks,” says Sarah Messer, Director of Media for Nielsen MENAP. “Comparing 2019 with 2018 Ramadan listening patterns tells us that the observations we made last year hold true again this year, and that going forward into future Ramadan months, we have some firm facts about listening levels from nationalities and the stations they are tuning into, that will help any radio advertising campaign during the Holy Month to reach the right audience, in the right place, at the right time. More effective radio planning and buying is made possible through detailed analysis of our UAE RAM data.” 

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)The second-quarter UAE Radio Audience Measurement was conducted from April 1st to June 30th, 2019 measuring listenership for 51 radio stations across the country.Nielsen’s UAE RAM is based on a significant Establishment Survey to understand UAE population dynamics. As of Q2 2018 the Establishment Survey sample size is 27,000 face to face interviews across all seven emirates in the UAE, the largest survey of its kind to determine the country’s unique population characteristics. This ensures our collection of radio data is highly 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, time spent listening, device used for listening, place of listening, ebb and flow reports and station loyalty. For more information on UAE RAM, visit