As part of its Digital Radio Action Plan, the Government asked Ofcom to report annually on the availability and take-up of digital radio services.1
This year’s report shows that the BBC’s national digital audio broadcasting (DAB) multiplex now covers 94.4% of homes, while the national commercial digital multiplex covers 89.5%. Local DAB multiplexes are estimated to cover 71.7% of households.
Digital radio listening
In the 12 months to the end of June 2013, over a third (33.9%) of all radio listening hours was to digital radio, across various platforms such as DAB, digital TV and the internet or ‘apps’. This is an 11.2 percentage point increase on the same period in 2010 and a 4.4 percentage point increase year on year.
Of stations that are only available through digital platforms, four had at least one million listeners in an average week in the 12 months to Q2 2013.
BBC 6 Music had the largest number of listeners at 1.74 million; followed by BBC Radio 4 Extra, which reached 1.66 million listeners; and 1Xtra from the BBC, which reached 1.1 million listeners. Commercial radio station Absolute 80s increased its reach by 16.7% to 1.01 million in the year to June 2013.
Listening online and through ‘apps’
DAB digital radio sets were the most widely-used means of listening to digital radio, accounting for 64.9% of all digital listening hours in the year to the end of June 2013.
The share of digital listening accounted for by online and ‘apps’ grew by 1.6 percentage points to 14.9%, while the proportion accounted for by digital TV fell slightly (down by 0.6 percentage points) to 15% year on year.
DAB radio sets sold
Over a third (33.4%) of all radio sets sold in the year to the end of June 2013 included a DAB tuner, compared to 28.7% a year earlier.
A total of 5.6 million radio sets were sold in this period, a fall of 14.3% year on year.
Sales of DAB sets remained steady (1.9 million in 2012 and 2013) while sales of analogue sets fell by one million units year on year to 3.7 million.
The proportion of people that claimed to have a DAB digital radio set at home was 45.7% at the end of June 2013, an increase of 4 percentage points year on year. Ownership of digital sets varies across the UK, ranging from 54.4% in Surrey to 18.1% in the Border region.
Digital radios in new cars
Almost four in ten (38.3%) of new cars are now fitted with DAB as standard, an increase of almost a third on the proportion in Q2 2012.
The full Digital Radio Report 2013 is available here.