Digital radios will achieve a 50% household penetration by 2010, according to the Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB). Its annual forecast says sales of digital audio broadcasting (DAB) sets in 2006 will be around the 2m mark, delivering a household penetration of 13.9% by the end of 2006. This is expected to rise to more than 40% by 2009, and top 50% in 2010.
The forecast, which tracks DAB set sales across all categories, was audited by media analysts Oliver and Ohlbaum. Using a bottom-up analysis of the current DAB set market, it also considers the shift within the audio market in recent years as listeners find non-traditional ways to consume radio—a trend that is expected to continue.
DRDB chief executive, Ian Dickens, said: "Over the past four years, we have seen a dramatic rise in the number of DAB digital radio sets available to consumers and there are now around 300 different models available from all the leading consumer electronic brands.
"Having established a firm product base in the traditional radio market, our aim is to ensure DAB digital radio is also available across a broader range of devices as digital convergence continues. To meet these needs, DAB digital radio must be included in new multi purpose devices and the good news is that the first such products are already hitting the streets."
Virgin Mobile's Lobster 700 is the first mobile phone able to receive DAB stations. Combined DAB/MP3 players are now also available, and later this year, the first MP3 docking stations with DAB digital radio inside are expected in stores, from a number of key brands.
"With a DAB radio, listeners can receive around twice the stations they can on an analogue radio and this is proving to be a big plus. As DAB chips appear in converging technologies such as mobile phones and MP3 players, and we see new DAB stations launching over the coming months, we expect this attraction to grow, presenting a healthy future for the UK's radio industry," added Dickens.
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