Category Archives: DAB

Widest ever choice of listening for UK motorists as 2.3 million new car buyers tune into digital radio in 2016



More than eight out of 10 new cars registered in 2016 featured the latest digital radios, according to figures published by SMMT. Last year, 2.28 million cars hit the roads with the kit fitted as standard – the first time the 2 million milestone has been reached.

Over the past five years, the number of newly registered cars factory fitted with digital radio has increased more than four-fold, thanks to major investment by manufacturers. In 2012, just over a quarter of new cars featured the systems as standard, compared with 84.5% in 2016. Motorists who opt for a car with DAB can now enjoy more than 400 digital radio stations.

The government has committed to switching off the UK’s analogue radio signal when DAB coverage reaches 50% of radio listeners, but no date has been set yet.1

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

With increasing numbers of DAB-enabled vehicle models on the market, and new car registrations at record levels,2 more car owners than ever before are now able to tune into digital radio as they drive.

While vehicle manufacturers have already shown they are committed to the digital revolution, the setting of a confirmed switch to digital date by government would considerably accelerate conversion of existing vehicles in use. This remains a sizeable job and, consequently, a significant opportunity for the aftermarket.

  1. Current share of all radio listening via digital platforms is 45.5%: RAJAR data, Q3 2016.
  2. A record 2,692,786 new cars were registered in the UK in 2016.

Source: SMMT

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70% Of New Cars Have Digital Radio


Minister announces 70% of new cars now have digital radio

Speaking at a parliamentary reception to celebrate UK radio in the House of Commons , Ed Vaizey MP, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy announced that 70% of new cars now come with digital radio as standard. The Minister will hail the great progress made by the vehicle manufacturers which will enable drivers to enjoy the full range of national and local digital stations.

Data from industry analysts CAP and The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders shows that the proportion of new cars fitted with digital radio as standard in Q2 2015 has increased by 28% to 70% compared with 54% in 2014.

In the last 12 months 1.6 million cars have been sold with digital radio fitted as standard.

The top 10 new cars sold this year all have digital radio fitted as standard (please see chart below) with the Vauxhall Corsa being the latest model to go digital as standard.

The growth of digital radio in cars is linked to the increase of digital listening which now represents nearly 40% of all listening, and the expansion of digital coverage and content.

Last week saw the start of the Ashes series with radio commentary exclusively on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and a new national commercial radio station is scheduled to launch on DAB in September. This autumn the BBC will complete the expansion of National DAB coverage to 97% and next spring the new National DAB Network D2 will launch with 16 digital stations.

Ed Vaizey, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, says: “I am pleased to announce that 70% of new cars now come with digital radio as standard – that’s excellent progress and demonstrates the support of vehicle manufacturers for digital radio.”

Mike Hawes, CEO of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, says: “Vehicle manufacturers continue to invest heavily in new audio technologies to enhance the listening experience for motorists. That seven in 10 new cars now feature digital radio is testament to growing consumer demand for these technologies, and we expect uptake to continue rising in the coming months and years.”

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, says: “This is great news for digital radio and for drivers. 70% of new cars with digital radio is a real milestone and means that many more drivers won’t miss a thing of this summer’s great music and sports events.”

Top 10 best selling UK cars June 2015 (SMMT)* on all or some models

Model Digital radio as standard*
1 Ford Fiesta Yes
2 Vauxhall Corsa Yes
3 Ford Focus Yes
4 VW Golf Yes
5 Nissan Qashqai Yes
6 Vauxhall Astra Yes
7 Mini Yes
8 VW Polo Yes
9 Vauxhall Mokka Yes
10 Vauxhall Insignia Yes

Source: Digital Radio Uk

Co-Star have a range of antennas to enhance the performance of digital radio in the car.        Click here for more information>


60% of all new cars sold have digital radios as standard


UK DAB Q4 2014

The UK Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says that more than 61 per cent of new cars now come with digital radio as standard, up from 43.5 per cent in Q4 2013 and only 4.4 per cent in Q1 2010 (CAP/SMMT) at the beginning of the Government’s Digital Radio Action Plan. Over 21% of new commercial vehicles were sold with DAB as standard in Q4 2014 (28% in December 2014), up from 10% in Q3.

90 per cent of the top 20 manufacturers are now fitting digital radio as standard in some or all of their cars.

Expansion of BBC national DAB coverage will be completed in 2015. Half of the 162 new national digital transmitters have been built with the rest due in this year, taking the coverage of BBC national stations on DAB to 97 per cent.

The UK Government’s radio switchover coverage criteria – national DAB coverage comparable to FM, 90 per cent local DAB coverage and 50 per cent digital listening.

Sound Digital applies for National Digital Radio Licence

Sound Digital, the joint venture company formed by Arqiva, Bauer and UTV in 2014, has today unveiled its ambition to deliver a step-change in choice for listeners by providing access to 15 distinctive national digital radio stations.  The plans are detailed in Sound Digital’s application to operate the licence for the UK’s second national commercial DAB multiplex.

Sound Digital’s goal is to play a leading role in the development of digital radio.  This will be driven by the unprecedented strength of the digital-only brands broadcast on its network, its strategy for promoting digital take-up and the financial security provided by its shareholders’ firm commitments to the company.

Sound Digital’s line-up comprises popular, well-loved brands which will be entirely or predominantly exclusive to digital radio:

  • UTV will launch three original speech stations – talkRADIO, talkSPORT 2 and talkBUSINESS – significantly extending choice and plurality in a sector currently dominated by the BBC.
  • Bauer will offer high quality music stations catering to a broad spectrum of musical taste, including Magic Mellow, KISSTORY and heat radio, along with highly successful digital stations Absolute 80s and Planet Rock.
  • Virgin Radio will return to the UK airwaves under a partnership between the Virgin Group and UTV.  Sound Digital will also offer a non-mainstream music station, which Jazz FM has signed an agreement to provide.
  • Stations will also cater to specific areas of interest for which there is additional national demand: UCB Inspirational and Premier Christian Radio for Christian audiences, Sunrise Radio and British Muslim Radio.
  • To lay the foundation of a future migration to DAB+ and accelerate take-up of DAB+ compatible radios, Sound Digital will launch a DAB+ channel. The programming content of this ground-breaking channel will be revealed ahead of launch.

Independent research by YouGov with over 4000 adults shows very strong collective appeal for Sound Digital’s stations, with 79% saying that they would listen to at least one of the stations.

Each of Sound Digital’s 15 services is fully committed under binding commitments made by the shareholders and by third party content providers, providing certainty to Ofcom that Sound Digital will deliver on its licence application proposals.

Sound Digital’s planned transmission network is differentiated from the existing national multiplex by its focus on digital-only stations including start-up operators and new entrants.  The network balances cost-effectiveness with high quality national coverage, reaching over 46 million people and an estimated 88% of vehicles on the move.

The presence within Sound Digital’s line-up of recognised brands which will be exclusive to digital radio heralds a major new chapter for the DAB platform.  To realise this potential, Sound Digital will initiate a high-impact promotional strategy for digital radio, coordinated with partners including retailers, manufacturers and the vehicle industry.  Sound Digital is committing media support and cross-promotion worth £15m over six years.

If awarded the UK’s second national DAB multiplex licence by Ofcom, Sound Digital will launch its network within 12 months.

“Sound Digital’s goal is to play a leading role in the development of digital radio.  Our application pools our collective experience, expertise and financial backing to provide certainty that Sound Digital will deliver on its commitment to build and launch a new national digital radio network within 12 months of Ofcom’s decision, and to maintain the network for the full 12 year licence term.”

“Sound Digital’s proposals are fantastic news for radio listeners, with an unprecedented expansion of choice in speech and music radio content. As well as providing expansion opportunities for existing successful digital broadcasters like Bauer, our network’s cost-effectiveness and open and accessible approach ensure that Sound Digital caters to the full range of digital radio content providers.”

“Sound Digital’s plans combine popular, well-loved brands such as the return of Virgin Radio with unique content including three brand new speech radio stations. The result will be a major increase in choice for audiences that already have digital radio, and a surge in take-up from those that don’t. This is fantastic news not just for listeners but for the wider radio industry.”

Source: Arqiva