UK: According to new figures from consumer electronics industry research body GfK, more than five million DAB digital radios have now been sold in the UK. According to the DRDB (the Digital Radio Development Bureau) - a group funded and supported by the BBC, Digital One, GCap Media, EMAP Digital Radio and MXR - this equates to around 10m listeners tuning in to DAB around the UK, writes David Davies.
This latest finding complements a recent statistic published by radio audience information body RAJAR that indicated 19.5% of the adult population was now living in a DAB household. Meanwhile, recent independent research conducted for BT Movio suggested that while consumers are often buying mobile phones with a view to receiving broadcast TV, they are actually using the DAB digital radio more.
The statistics emerge in the wake of a period of sustained development for DAB digital radio, with music downloads and 'DABverts' among the factors helping to broaden the technology's scope. The recent announcement of an iPod plug-in device allowing users to tune in DAB and FM via their iPods has also been warmly welcomed by the radio industry.
With an eye on DAB's increasing functionality, the DRDB is to expand later this year by bringing on board expertise in telecoms, the automobile sector and new technology.
DRDB chief executive Ian Dickens, who is to step down later this year, put DAB's growth into context: "I have seen DAB digital radio grow from around 135,000 units sold to over five million; from 19 products in 2002 to over 300 today; from an entry level price of _99 to _29 today; from 600 independent retailers to over 8,500 outlets including the key mass merchandisers in 2007, and from a listening base of practically zero to nearly one-in-five of the adult population."
According to DRDB chairman Ralph Bernard, household penetration of digital radio is forecast to reach 50% during the next three years.