The latest set of RAJAR results published on 5th August 2010 (Q2 2010) shows that the current UK digital share of radio listening is 25%, meaning we are now half way towards the Government’s target of 50% set for the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting.
It is however a slow upward climb. DAB has been around in the UK for eleven years now. We said in our January 2010 Ipsos MediaCT bite-sized Thought Piece that the Government’s 2013 target trigger date for a 2015 switchover, set in their 2009 Digital Britain report, may be optimistic and the current trend with the latest figures certainly confirms this. With the digital share increasing by only 3.5% in the last 12 months, at that rate the digital switchover would not occur before 2019!
There is still more work that needs to be done to market DAB and hurdle the barriers of transmitter coverage, affordability, car sets – car manufacturers have committed to fitting DAB as standard in all new cars by 2013 - and listener reticence. Our report asserted that radio’s digital destiny is in the hands of the listeners, which, Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications & Creative Industries, also came round to saying in his well-publicised 8 July speech to the Intellect Consumer Electronics Conference.
Maybe it will be the new UK Radioplayer that will help speed up digital listening, particularly important for tomorrow’s listeners and the iPhone generation. This joint initiative between BBC and Commercial Radio is seeking to offer UK online radio in one simple player. It will have a search engine allowing listeners to find stations by programme, genre, postcode, and so on – all packaged as a simple desktop or mobile application. After a 12 month gestation period, it’s looking to beta launch in October 2010.