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Thursday, September 25, 2014
Digital radio sales fall to six-year low
Digital radio sales have fallen to a six-year low, with a period of consecutive growth in digital's share of listening coming to a halt.
"While in previous years there has been consecutive quarterly growth in digital radio's share of total listening hours, quarterly figures from Rajar show that between quarter two 2013 and quarter two 2014 it has remained broadly stable," said the report.
"Compared to quarter two 2013, sales of DAB digital radio sets were down by 9.1%, with 1.7 million being sold in the year to quarter two 2014. Total radio sales were down by 11.3% over the same period. DAB sales continue to represent around a third of all radio set sales."
Only 2% of radio listeners without a DAB set at home said they were "certain" to buy one in the next 12 months, with another 13% either likely or very likely to do so.
The majority of people said there was "no need" to buy one or they were happy with their existing services.
Sales of digital sets peaked at 2.1m in 2009, but have failed to hit those heights again. However, more than half of new cars (54.8%) now have digital radio fitted as standard, some way ahead of previous years.
Five digital-only stations now have a weekly reach of more than 1 million listeners, led by BBC 6 Music, with the most popular commercial station Absolute 80s. The BBC accounts for more than half of digital listening, reflecting wider trends in listening across all platforms.
It is a sign of the scale of the competition faced by UK broadcasters in the digital age that Ofcom said there were more than 100,000 internationally accessible online stations.
Bu the research also revealed that one fifth of adults with an internet connected computer were not aware they could use it to listen to the radio.
A spokeswoman for Digital Radio UK, the body responsible for promoting the technology, said: "The report shows encouraging progress on coverage, cars, sales of digital devices and station availability.
"Listeners can look forward to planned national and local coverage improvements by the broadcasters over the next couple of years, further progress on digital radio in cars and the planned new national commercial stations. With analogue listening at an all-time low, digital is the way forward for radio."
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