Friday, November 2, 2012

UK & Digital Radio

Earlier this month, UK's Ofcom (state regulatory authority) released its third annual report on the development of digital radio in the UK.  Current government policy calls for digital radio to eventually replace current analog radio offerings, with the switchover to be triggered when digital radio's signal coverage becomes comparable to existing FM coverage, and roughly half of listening is to digital radio stations.  This report, the third annual, shows that digital radio is well on the way to meet those goals.
  Specifically, the report indicates that:
  • Digital radio services are provided through multiple platforms: digital terrestrial radio, digital television, and through the Internet.
  • Coverage varies by service and platform -  BBC's digital radio service reaches 94.3% of UK homes (using multiple platforms); commercial digital radio services reach 84.6%; local digital radio services reach 66.6%; 95% of the primary TV sets in UK homes are capable of receiving some digital radio services; and 77% of UK homes have broadband Internet service capable of streaming digital radio services.
  • As of June 2012, 29.5% of radio listening was to digital radio services.  Roughly two-thirds of that listening was to terrestrial digital radio (DAB) receivers, 15% through digital TV sets, and 13% online.
  • Most people still don't own digital radio receivers - less than 30% of radios sold in the last year included a DAB tuner; only a quarter of cars include a DAB tuner; and half of those currently without a DAB receiver said they were not likely to buy one in the next year.  Nationally, only 41.2% of people claimed ownership of a DAB receiver, and diffusion varies widely in different regions of the UK (from a high of 54.4% in Surrey to a low of 25.8% in the Scottish Borders).
FM radio continues to dominate radio listening -  54% of adults have listened to FM radio services (30% do so daily), while about 1 in three listen to radio services through digital TV sets and another third through DAB receivers. About a quarter listen to AM radio, and one in five listen to radio services online.  BBC services account for half of all digital radio listening.

Source -  The Communications Market: Digital Radio Report,  Ofcom research report, Oct. 2012

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