The number of radio sets sold plummeted 18% in the 12 months to Q2 2012, a new study published by Ofcom shows.
The regulator’s “Digital Radio Report” says that while the proportion with DAB rose to 29%, this was because of a fall of 1.5 million in the number of analogue sets sold, with DAB set sales remaining steady at 1.9 million. In total, radio sales fell from a high of 10.4 million in 2008 to 6.7 million in 2012.
Surrey leads the way as the UK’s DAB hotspot, despite not yet having its own local digital radio multiplex. It’s the first area where more than half the people questioned claimed ownership of a DAB digital radio – the county’s 54% compares with a UK average of 41%, and is over double the figure for the Scottish borders at just 25%.
Meanwhile, over one-quarter (25.9%) of new cars are now fitted with DAB as standard, more than double the number in Q2 2011.
Ofcom’s third annual report forms part of the government’s Digital Radio Action Plan, which set criteria that digital radio switchover could only happen when 50% of all radio listening is via digital platforms; and when national DAB coverage is comparable to FM, and local DAB reaches 90% of the population and all major roads.
The document highlights RAJAR data that almost three in ten (29.5%) of all radio listening hours were now to services delivered over a digital platform, an increase of 3.6 percentage points year-on-year.
National BBC coverage stands at 94.3% of households, with the commercial national Digital One multiplex at 84.6%. Currently, 99% of households get at least variable FM reception of national BBC stations. Coverage from local DAB muxes is lower at 66.4% of households and only 43.2% of roads, although Ofcom notes that it has recently altered the assumptions behind these calculations, and therefore local DAB coverage will actually be greater than reported.
Away from DAB, almost all households in the UK now have access to digital radio services in the home on at least one platform. By Q2 2012, over nine in ten homes (95%) had digital television on their main TV set, with access to digital radio stations. Seventy-seven per cent had access to a broadband internet connection at home, offering streamed digital radio services, and listen-again and downloadable radio content.