Berkshire has the highest percentage of digital listening in the country, according to this year’s Ofcom report on Digital Radio.
The Royal County has 60.4% digital listening, and 17 other places have over 50% of people listening via digital devices. In contrast, three areas have digital listening under 40% with Northern Ireland being the lowest, with 31.2% digital listening. These areas are typically where DAB coverage was built out and new DAB services were introduced later than the rest of the UK.
DRUK has welcomed the report, which highlights that there are 337 services operating on DAB in the UK, and that the majority of listening in the home is to a digital platform (54.7%) whereas in cars digital listening still represents the minority at 30.9%. The report highlights that this is increasing as more new cars with digital radio come onto the road and includes CAP/SMMT data on digital radio in new cars which has increased to 87.5%.
Exploring the features of digital radio that listeners have experienced, the research highlights ‘clear high quality sound’ followed by ‘a wider choice of stations’ as the two most popular answers.
Ford Ennals, CEO, Digital Radio UK, said: “We welcome the Ofcom Digital Radio Report which highlights the increasing popularity of digital radio across the UK. The report shows the growth of digital listening, the increases in the numbers of digital stations and the expansion of DAB coverage but it also shines a light on the key areas of development required, specifically digital listening in cars and in a number of local areas that are behind the national averages. Fundamentally the UK radio sector is stronger due to the expansion of station choice and the growth of digital listening to almost 50%.”
Of the 337 DAB services, 31 are UK-wide commercial services and 11 are BBC UK-wide stations. The total number of DAB stations ranges from 264 broadcasting in England, to 76 in Scotland, 62 in Wales and 53 in Northern Ireland.6 There are 595 radio stations broadcasting on analogue, including three UK-wide commercial stations and five UK-wide BBC stations.