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Digital radio listening gains in popularity

DAB radio listening rises to 15.8%

Pure Sensia

According to the latest figures, the number of people listening to the radio on a DAB set is steadily increasing with DAB now accounting for 15.8% of all radio listening.

Figures released today by RAJAR – the radio industry research body – show DAB listening is up 20% on this time last year. This continues the slow but consistent climb from last quarter’s figures, which were also up 20% year on year.

Although these numbers support claims that DAB is growing in popularity, listeners aren’t flocking to the platform in great numbers. In fact internet radio is increasing at a higher rate of 33% year on year, although it’s overall radio listening share of 2.9% is far smaller than DAB’s.

Figures also suggest that there are now more DAB radios in homes than ever before – up 9% year on year to over a third of the population.

If you’re looking for a digital radio, check out our Which? DAB radio reviews to find the best sounding models including portable, tabletop, personal and bedside radios.

What this means for radio switchover

The government confirmed in July that any decision to switch national radio stations from FM to DAB will be consumer led. In addition to improvements required in DAB coverage, the transition from analogue to DAB will only take place once 50% of radio listening is on digital platforms.

However, the term ‘digital’ doesn’t just mean DAB. It also includes internet radio listening and those who listen to the radio via their digital television. 

Digital platforms as a whole currently account for 24.6% of radio listening. The government has a hard task ahead of it if to persuade the same number of listeners again to switch from analogue to a digital radio source.

Does the thought of a switch from FM to DAB leave you cold? Or are you a big fan of of the extra channels DAB offers? Have your say in our analogue switchover discussion on the Which? Conversation website.

Digital and FM radio on the move

Radio in general continues to grow in popularity. 46.8 million people now listen to the radio – that’s around 300,000 more than in March 2010 when the last figures were released

Listening on mobile phones and in cars is more likely to be on FM – DAB has been slower to reach these markets. Recently JATO dynamics, the world’s leading provider of automotive data and intelligence, indicate that the number of new cars registered with digital radio fitted as standard has doubled year on year since 2007, but remains a small percentage of overall car ownership. 

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