Today Ofcom published the eight annual Digital Radio Report on the progress of digital radio in the UK. The report provides an update on availability, take-up, listening patterns, and attitudes to digital radio, as originally requested by Government in 2010 as part of the Digital Radio Action Plan.
In the report, Ofcom highlights that there are now 337 services on DAB in the UK, and released the report on Twitter under the headline ‘digital radio continues to grow in popularity in the UK’. The full report can be read here.
In a new initiative, the eighth Ofcom report is accompanied by an interactive data tool that allows users to drill down into the research findings. One of the key findings is that 18 areas of the UK have digital listening over 50% with the highest area being Berkshire with 60.4% digital listening. 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. See the interactive data tool here.
Ofcom reports 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%.”