Drivers tune in to digital radio

- New research conducted for the first time shows high satisfaction levels with in-car DAB digital radio
- 86% of those surveyed have no issue with DAB reception and most have good reception
- 85% of in-car users are content with DAB
- Most in-car users find that their DAB signal is better than their FM
- 68% would be disappointed if they didn't have digital radio in their car

Today at the Mobile Electronics News EXPO 2011 a landmark piece of research will be announced. Conducted by one of the UK's leading vehicle manufacturers together with Oliver Rowe Research, the findings highlight high satisfaction levels with in-car digital radio and the importance of robust reception. At the primary aftermarket trade show for the vehicle industry, Laurence Harrison, Digital Radio UK's Technology and Market Development Director, will announce that in-car digital radio is a positive experience. However, the research also shows the importance of reception and the coverage improvements currently underway.

The research, conducted among car owners across the UK with digital radio fitted as standard, shows that the vast majority of people have good DAB reception. 86% say that reception is very good to fair; 85% are content with their in car digital radio; and 63% say reception is better or the same as FM.

The research also shows the importance of good DAB reception to the customer experience, and reinforces the importance of the work that Government and the BBC is doing to strengthen and extend DAB coverage. 13% say that reception is poor, due to reception and coverage issues as they travel. The Government-Industry Digital Radio Action Plan has steps to address this. In an announcement last week, the BBC confirmed that it has committed to reach DAB national coverage for 93% of households by the end of 2011 and to continue building out national DAB coverage towards FM equivalence over the next few years. This year, the BBC is building 40 new transmitters which will add new households to coverage and also improve coverage for others.

In the research, 68% say that they would be disappointed if they didn't have digital radio in their car. Most said they would only get a car with digital radio in the future. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (the leading trade association for the motor industry in the UK) say they expect all new cars to have digital radio fitted as standard by the end of 2013. It was recently announced that the new model of the Ford Focus, the UK's second-highest selling vehicle, launches next week with digital radio as standard.

What drivers like most about their in-car digital radio is the ‘Great sound quality' (68% cited this), and more/better stations to choose from (44% chose this). 31% liked the fact that it was easy to change stations, and 30% the scrolling text. Particular reference was made by DAB users about their positive experience listening to sports such as Premiership Football and Test Cricket on digital radio due to the better sound quality for BBC Radio 5 Live and TalkSPORT and the availability of BBC 5 Live Sports Extra and Absolute Extra.

Ford Ennals, Chief Executive of Digital Radio UK, said:

"This research shows that drivers like the sound quality of digital radio and the choice of stations in their car. With recent announcements about improvements in coverage, there is no reason not to get digital radio now, so you can enjoy all the stations you love as well as digital-only sport, music and speech stations. Listening to sports coverage on DAB is simply a better experience and with 20% of radio listening in-car, drivers deserve the wider choice of stations on digital radio."

Paul Everitt, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said:

"This is an encouraging piece of research which highlights the importance of the in-car digital radio experience in delivering real benefits to listeners. Consumer demand is key to the speed at which digital radio progresses and the results of this initial study show how important strong coverage and quality content are in driving this."

Source: Oliver Rowe Research. Survey conducted among 683 car owners fitted with DAB radio in the UK. Fieldwork 28 December 2010 - 28 February 2011.

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About Digital Radio UK
Digital Radio UK works with Government, broadcasters, manufacturers, retailers, and a wide range of stakeholders to accelerate digital listening, to enable the expansion of the digital radio platform, and to ensure that industry meets the consumer-led criteria to be achieved for a proposed radio switchover. Digital Radio UK's Board comprises representatives from the BBC, RadioCentre, Arqiva, Global Radio, Bauer Media, GMG Radio, Intellect and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

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20% of radio listening is in-car, according to RAJAR Q4 2010. It is estimated that fewer than 500,000 vehicles currently have digital radi, but the market is changing quickly with the recent launch of digital radio as standard in Minis, the Ford C-MAX, and from this month, in the Ford Focus, the UK's second-highest selling vehicle.

15.03.2011 | General

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