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DAB—Digital Audio Broadcasting—Doing Fab in the UK

Digital radio listening grew around 9% year over year in Q4 2013

UK consumers continued to spend time with radio in Q4 2013, when they listened to a total 1,030 million hours of radio content, according to Radio Joint Audience Research Limited, Ipsos MORI and RSMB. Year on year, this represented a very slight drop—in Q4 2012, that figure stood at 1,037 million hours.

However, the digital portion of this listening time continued to rise, up from 342 million hours in Q4 2012 to 371 million in Q4 2013.

In terms of share, digital accounted for 36.1% of all UK radio listening hours in Q4 2013, up more than 3 percentage points from the same period in 2012. Meanwhile, digital audio broadcasting (DAB) saw increased engagement, accounting for 23.4% of total listening hours, up from 21.1% the year before. As a percentage of total digital listening hours, this represented a substantial share of nearly 65% in Q4 2013.

Digital radio, and particularly DAB, is clearly finding favor in the UK to the detriment of traditional AM/FM broadcasts. This is mirrored in the attribution of UK media ad spending. eMarketer forecasts that the share of ad spend going to traditional radio—excluding off-air radio and digital—is set to decline from what was already a relatively small base.

In 2014, radio will account for just 2.1% of total media ad spend, and that figure will slip slightly further to 1.9% by 2017. Digital, meanwhile, of which digital radio makes up a portion, continues to see its share rise.



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