Ofcom reports on the progress of digital radio
There are currently 339 radio stations broadcasting on DAB in the UK, up by 56 stations in the last 12 months.
This is in addition to the 100+ stations on the DAB mini-muxes as part of the Ofcom small-scale DAB trial.
The statistic is just one from the latest annual report from Ofcom on the progress of digital radio in the UK, as requested by Government as part of the Digital Radio Action Plan.
The report confirms that digital listening has increased to 45.5% and in six areas of the UK digital listening exceeds 50%, led by Sussex. National BBC DAB coverage has been increased to 97.3% of UK households and local DAB coverage has been expanded to 90% of UK households in line with the Government coverage criteria for switchover.
85% of new cars sold now have DAB digital radio fitted as standard and 43% of drivers and passengers say they travel in a vehicle with a digital radio ‘in most weeks’. This is an increase of 13 percentage points since last year.
Digital listening accounts for 45.5% of all radio listening, an increase of 3.6 percentage points on the same period last year.
The proportion of radio listening online and through apps was slightly higher this year, contributing to 7.9% of total listening hours, and 17.8% of digital listening.
The other six areas where digital listening exceeds 50% are Berkshire and north Hampshire (53.2%), Swindon and West Wiltshire (51.4%), London (51.3%), Gloucestershire (50.2%) and Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire.
DAB continues to show the largest share of digital radio listening; 71.0% of all digital listening and 32.3% of all listening in Q3 2016 was via DAB. 57% of UK adults have a DAB set in their home, an increase of 3.3 percentage points since 2015. Lead markets for DAB take-up are Swindon and West Wiltshire at 70% of households; Stoke-on- Trent in 69% and Surrey in 68%.
The increase in the number of digital stations available has led to an increase in the proportion of DAB radio owners citing wider choice of stations as the primary feature of digital radio which is now at 70%, close to the 73% who cited clear and high-quality sound.
The number of digital radios sold in the year to Q3 2016 has remained broadly similar to last year, with 1.6 million sets sold in addition to the over 2 million more cars sold in the last year with DAB fitted as standard. The number of analogue and digital radio sets sold decreased from 7.2 million in the year to Q3 2010 to 4.7 million in the year to Q3 2016. However, it is likely that this decrease relates to the increased take-up of multi-use devices, such as smartphones and tablets, which are capable of receiving radio as one of many functions.”
Thirteen per cent of radio listeners without a DAB set in the home said they were likely to buy one in the next year. Three in ten (30%) said that they didn’t know if they would buy a DAB set in the next year, and nearly six in ten (58%) said that they were unlikely to purchase one in the next year.
Ford Ennals, CEO, Digital Radio UK, said: “We welcome the publication today of Ofcom’s annual Digital Radio Report. With new stations launching all the time, the transformation of DAB coverage and more ways of listening than ever before, listening to digital radio is becoming the norm and we would expect to see digital listening exceed 50% in 2017 just as it already does in many areas in the UK.”