Official data relating to DAB+ digital radio in Australia was released by Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) today in the 2013 Digital Radio Industry Report, showing digital radio sales figures have soared to a total of 192,974 in a four month period.
Actual listening to the radios has also continued to grow with almost 1.5 million people tuning in each week and nearly 14,000 new vehicles have now been sold with DAB+ digital radio equipped.
The highest ever sales figures of DAB+ devices were recorded over the 2012/2013 Christmas and New Year period ,bringing the total number of digital radios sold since launch to nearly 1.2 million (1,195,940). This apparently represents an increase of 13.57% year on year for digital radio sales, defying a decline in retail sales over the same period.
However, following the last 12 months uplift in sales, PwC has estimated that the current DAB+ household penetration at the end of January 2013 is now well ahead of forecast, reaching 15.2%.
Commercial Radio Australia chief executive officer, Joan Warner said: “The latest figures are proof positive that Australians have embraced digital radio. Even without the impetus of a switch off date, DAB+ digital radio uptake continues to increase.”
The industry report includes, for the first time, the number of vehicles sold in Australia with DAB+ as standard, or taken up as an option, by car buyers. Early figures indicate that nearly 14,000 new vehicles have been sold with DAB+. Last year the radio industry made significant inroads with vehicle manufacturers and eight major manufacturers now include DAB+ as either standard or an option for the Australian market.
The main findings of the research were:
• 1.5 million people or 11.6% of radio listeners, listen to radio on a DAB+ digital radio each week in the five state capital cities;
• time spent listening (TSL) to radio via DAB+ digital radio is double that of time spent listening to radio via the internet;
• household penetration of DAB+ is tracking ahead of forecast at 15.2% (end of Jan 2013);
• nearly 14,000 new vehicles have been sold with DAB+ (does not include aftermarket product).
Some stations are reportedly under threat however, in the 2012 budget the Government delivered a funding shortfall for community digital radio services of $1.4 million per annum, making it "impossible" to maintain all the current services.
Ms Warner said: “The latest data is very pleasing, but we urge all Australian listeners to register their support for digital radio expanding into regional Australia with local MPs, via a specially set-up website: www.wewantdigitalradio.com.au so that everyone can experience digital radio.”