Monday, 02 April 2012 06:44

Digital radio sales ahead of forecasts


Australians are increasingly listening to digital radio broadcasts, with 1.2 million people, on average, tuning in to digital broadcasts every week, ahead of the original forecasts for the fledgling industry.

Official data on digital radio released this morning by Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) in its Digital Radio Industry Report 2012, shows that the technology is tracking ahead of forecast in the five state metropolitan capitals of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

As well as the 1.2 million listeners to digital radio every week, CRA reports that close to 800,000 digital radios have been sold.  The CRA report reveals that over the Christmas 2011 and New Year 2012 period, digital radio sales recorded the highest jump to date, with a total of 180,546 devices sold between October 2011 and January 2012.  

CRA says these sales figures are outperforming the original forecast and have prompted an update to the PwC Forecast for Digital Radio Adoption, with PwC now showing that household penetration of DAB+ digital radio is forecast to reach 16 percent by December 2013 and 18 percent by June 2014.

According to Commercial Radio Australia CEO, Joan Warner, digital radio sales and listening have increased 'despite one of the worst retail climates for decades.'

'The commercial radio industry has invested in the promotion of digital radio and worked very hard with retailers.  We've put our money where our mouth is and used our medium to tell our listeners about digital radio. Once again, results highlight just how well radio works.'

'While the latest market summary information is very pleasing, the overall aim of the industry is to ensure digital radio is available in all areas of Australia. Extensive work is also underway on the planning for digital radio rollout to regional Australia and proposed timelines are being developed for discussions with the Federal Government,' Warner commented.

The Digital Radio Industry Report 2012, is the third report compiled by CRA and includes data from the official radio industry audience measurement survey provider, Nielsen, consumer electronics market research company GfK, market research organisations, the Hoop Group and HOED and an update on the household uptake forecast from PwC.

Uptake of, and time spent listening (TSL) to, digital radio has increased according to the report released today by CRA. Major findings of the report, including information from Neilsen, GfK Marketscope and PWC, are:

'¢    1.2 million people or 9.4% of radio listeners, listen to radio on a DAB+ digital radio each week. This is an increase of nearly 400,000 people in the same period in 2011

'¢    Time spent listening to radio via a DAB+ digital radio platform is 12hrs & 20 mins each week - an increase of almost 8 hours since digital radio listening was first surveyed in 2009

'¢    Household penetration of DAB+ is at the level of nearly one in ten Australian households after two and a half years.  This rate is only exceeded by the rate of adoption of Pay TV

'¢    Digital radio household penetration is forecast to reach 16% by December 2013 and 18% by June 2014 - ahead of the original forecast

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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