The vast majority of listeners in the Dutch audio market listen to radio. The segment’s stable position in dynamic surroundings affects the advertising spend positively.

Playing field

Live radio is still the most popular audio channel in the Netherlands, representing c.75% of overall listening time. In 2018, almost 13m listeners were reached on a weekly basis. The average radio listening time is stable while streaming and podcasts show growing listening figures. Further cannibalisation of radio by other audio channels has not occurred.

The vast majority of total Dutch radio consumption is shared between two parties: the NPO, with five public radio stations has c.25% of the overall market and Talpa with four stations has a market share of 43%. Both radio groups operate in the main genres for the market’s key target group of listeners aged 20-59 years. 

Smaller stations with a stable footprint stand out because of their alternative offerings, which attract smaller but well-defined target groups. In 2017, the Dutch competition authority (ACM) announced that it was launching an investigation to assess whether there was still effective competition in the Dutch radio market. This investigation is still ongoing; a statement is expected before the end of 2019.

Market trend

Radio advertising revenue has shown a strong step-up in 2018. Ongoing but smaller growth is expected in 2019 and the coming years. Expected growth of digital radio consumption will have a positive impact on overall spend. Overall radio listening time’s slow but enduring decline will be partially offset by the increase in advertising which is forecasted to be on a trajectory of strong growth. This consumption pattern will eventually inhibit any further growth of the segment. 

The position of non-spot advertising has risen recent years and this trend is forecast to continue. To remain attractive for listeners, further growth of non-spot advertising via linear radio will eventually be inhibited. In addition, cross media usage of radio is on a rise. Live streaming via internet and television as well as live events allow for more non-spot exposure.

Radio advertising market (€ millions)

Netherlands Historical data Forecast CARG%
Spot 219 213 213 213 214 218 220 222 224 226 1.1%
   y-o-y growth   -3.0% 0.0% 0.2% 0.5% 2.0% 1.0% 0.7% 1.1% 0.8%  
Non Spot 14 13 12 12 13 15 16 17 17 18 5.8%
   y-o-y growth   -10.7% -2.4% -0.6% 9.6% 11.3% 9.5% 3.8% 2.6% 2.3%  
Radio advertising revenue 233 225 225 225 227 233 237 239 242 244 1.4%
   y-o-y growth   -3.4% -0.1% 0.2% 1.0% 2.5% 1.5% 0.9% 1.2% 0.9%  

Source: PwC, RAB. Note: Because we rounded off amounts and percentages throughout this Outlook, tables may not sum to 100%.


The cross media shift from non-digital to digital segments is influencing audio consumption. Although the growth of streaming services and podcast providers has not led to a direct cannibalisation of the radio segment so far, in the longer term the impact on radio will be more visible.

The Dutch landscape has been stable over the last year and no direct changes are foreseen. NPO and Talpa both have a strong market share and a stable position in the advertising market as a result. Other stations have created a stable negotiation position by becoming part of a larger cross media platform (e.g. Qmusic, BNR) or through commercial collaboration (ORN). Furthermore, parties will be reluctant to make any changes until the investigation by the Dutch competitive authority is concluded.

The Dutch government’s proposal to limit advertising time for public media channels will not directly impact the radio segment. The limitation is only proposed for live television until 8pm and for online public media channels.

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Contact us

Babette van Spronsen

Senior Consultant, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)88 792 53 16

Casper Scheffer

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)88 792 65 20