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UAE Persons 25-54 Trumpet Radio As A Favorite Pastime Into 2020, Spending Nearly Eight Hours Listening Each Week

4 minute read | June 2020

Dubai, UAE – Jun. 3, 2020: Nielsen’s UAE Radio Audience Measurement (RAM) service’s first quarter 2020 data shows that 7.82 million persons listen to radio weekly. The time spent listening is led by Persons 45-54 who spend 7 hours and 46 minutes listening and Persons 25-34 who spend 7 hours and 44 minutes weekly.

The first quarter 2020 survey period continues to report high radio reach from persons 10 plus in the UAE. Reach during this quarter was at 92% with over 57 million hours of weekly radio listening taking place.

Of important note this quarter, the increase in listening via a mobile device at 35% (growing from 34% in Q419) which accounts for 2.9 million of the weekly listeners. Study participants indicating listening to radio via the internet has also improved some to 8%, up from 7% in Q419. The remaining radio listening takes place via the AM/FM radio. While the overwhelming majority of the RAM Q120 study was fielded prior to restrictions put in place throughout the UAE to keep the country safe during the health crisis these digital increases may point toward alternate ways listeners continued to engage with radio during the crisis. 

No other measurement service in the UAE creates opportunities for increased success among marketers and advertisers by helping them learn more about the unique UAE population as Nielsen’s Radio Audience Measurement service. Our large-sized Establishment Survey provides insights into the UAE radio listener across not only age and gender but also across Nationality and by Emirate. The UAE radio listener profiles and habits can only be learned through our gold standard Nielsen RAM service. 

Advertisers and agencies can utilize the RAM data to understand radio habits by nationality in the country. The first quarter of 2020 study again reports 100% weekly radio reach with UAE Nationals and Expat Arabs grew to 100% weekly reach as well. Among Westerners, reach was at 92%, and Indians and Filipinos (both at 92%) also remained high.

“We really see once again the true strength in radio in the UAE with the Q1 2020 data release”, says Sarah Messer, Nielsen Director of Media for MENAP.  “Although movement restrictions were originally announced towards the end of March, homeschooling was already in place and many people had already curtailed their time outside. To see that despite the external environment, radio maintains such universal levels of reach and listenership across Emirates and nationalities, is a testament to the strength of radio in the country.  It’s interesting to see that the time of day of listening changed slightly in Q1 compared to the other quarters, suggesting listeners shifted their habits to accommodate their different home-based routine.”


UAE RAM starts with a strong foundation of a continuous Establishment Survey, which now consists of nearly 26,000 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. 2100 persons aged 10+, 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 increments 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 behavior metrics captured, including household demography, program ranking, time spent listening, the device used for listening, place of listening, ebb and flow reports, and station loyalty.

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. Nielsen is divided into two business units. Nielsen Global Media, the arbiter of truth for media markets, provides media and advertising industries with unbiased and reliable metrics that create a shared understanding of the industry required for markets to function. Nielsen Global Connect provides consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers with accurate, actionable information and insights and a complete picture of the complex and changing marketplace that companies need to innovate and grow. 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.

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Zizie Wahid

+971 52 657 4197