Ofcom reports continued rise in digital radio users and coverage


DAB digital radio has now reached 61% of households and continues to move ahead of other digital radio platforms in the UK.

That’s according to Ofcom's eighth annual report on the take-up of digital radio, which also reveals Berkshire as the area of the UK where you're most likely to have taken up listening to digital radio.

The research noted that the number of households with DAB radios increased from 57% to 61% in the past year as the total share of digital radio listening inched up to 48.8%. Overall, DAB accounts for 73.6% of digital listening, up from 71.1% in 2016.

Meanwhile, the share of online digital radio listening fell from 17.6% to 16.3% over the past year, reflecting a greater proportion of older listeners tuning into DAB rather than internet radio. Digital listening via TV platforms fell from 11.3 to 10% during the same time.

The report comes after multiplex operator Arqiva confirmed it had finished phase 4 of the roll-out of BBC National DAB multiplex and had almost completed local DAB expansion. Of the three national multiplexes, Ofcom data confirms the BBC National DAB multiplex reaches 97.4% of the UK, Digital One reaches 91.7% while Sound Digital reaches 77%. Local DAB services reach around 90% of the UK, but with large gaps remaining, particularly in Mid-Wales, Cumbria, the Scottish Borders and the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

The research also found that fifteen per cent of radio listeners without a DAB radio set in the home (i.e. of the c.39% of households without a DAB set) said they were likely to buy one in the next year. More than one in five (22%) said that they didn’t know if they would do so, while 63% said they were unlikely to. Among those unlikely to do so, about six in ten (59%) said it was because they had “no need for the service”, while 42% said they were “happy to use the existing service”.

The number of new DAB radios sold slowed in 2017, but at a slower rate than total radio sales.

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