Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy
9

Tech News

Digital radio listening reaches record levels

By
PURE EVOKE-1S Marshall digital radio
Consumption of radio stations via digital platforms has reached almost a third of all listening in the UK, but still lags far behind targets for the radio switchover to go ahead.

Digital listening hit 31.5% of the market in the second quarter, up from 29.2% in the previous three months, according to the latest data from audience measurement body RAJAR.

Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) remains the most popular form, at 20.1%, but there was a big climb in demand for radio stations over the internet and mobile apps, up from 3.9% in first quarter to 4.6%.

Consumption via digital TV platforms such as Freeview and Sky increased marginally from 4.4% to 4.7% over the three months.

The growth in digital radio usage has meant that all the BBC digital stations now reach more than 1m listeners every week, while commercial digital networks have also posted gains.

But despite the positive news, it remains that two in three listeners still shun digital platforms and prefer to enjoy their radio via analogue networks.

BBC logo at BBC Television Centre
The government has set the loose target of 2015 for the UK to switch off its analogue radio signal and shift totally to digital, as it has been doing with the television switchover, which completes this October.

However, the radio switchover will only go ahead if at least 50% of listening is via digital platforms, and some experts do not believe that the process will get underway until at least 2019.

Around 42% of British homes now have a DAB radio set, but take-up for the service remains comparatively low, despite some recent major marketing campaigns.

It has been claimed that consumers just don't see as clear benefits with the radio switchover as for digital TV - largely because they already get quality coverage and service from analogue signals.

Another issue is that millions of analogue radios in cars must be replaced with digital models, and that will take the manufacturers time to roll out.

Alongside the need for take-up to increase, the digital switchover is dependent on UK coverage matching the 99% reach of FM in the UK - and the BBC is currently investing in new masts and network infrastructure towards this aim.

After the radio switchover does go ahead, it is expected that the FM signal would be handed to community radio groups, although Ofcom has also mooted using it to power a range of innovative new 'white space' devices.

You May Like

Comments

Loading...