In 2012 we saw real momentum in the invehicle digital radio market. This is set to continue and in Q4 2013 we will see a UK Government decision and announcement on a digital radio switchover. Increased take-up in vehicles is vital and although 25 million people listen to digital radio each week and over 42% of homes have a digital radio, only 5% of cars have it.
The Digital Radio UK (DRUK) Drive 2 Digital conference in november 2012 attracted over 300 people from Government, industry and media from the UK and Europe. The UK Broadcast Minister Ed Vaizey confirmed government would make a public announcement on a switchover in 2013 and that industry needed to prepare. Minimum receiver specifications are now available and manufacturers should be starting to build to those requirements. We heard from speakers such as Ford, Peugeot/Citroen, Pure, BBC and the European Broadcast Union about progress and what to expect in 2013.
By Q3v 2012, 26% of new cars came with DAB digital radio fitted as standard (CAP/ SMMT), up from 17% the previous year and only 5% in the same period in 2010. In 2012 Vauxhall, VW and BMW all announced they would be fitting DAB as standard across their ranges. More announcements will follow this year and Digital Radio UK predicts that the majority of new car registrations will have DAB as standard by the end of 2013.
There is now a much wider range of aftermarket adapters and we know that this will continue to grow in 2013. The first fully integrated adapters launched last year as The panel called for greater co-operation between broadcasters and the automotive industry and well as over 3,000 franchised vehicle dealers starting to offer aftermarket adapters to customers for the first time. A new training and accreditation has also been launched for installers.
Coverage improvements continue
National BBC DAB coverage is now 94% and the target is to reach 97% by the end of 2015. Last year also saw a landmark agreement between government, BBC and commercial radio to build out local DAB coverage. As part of this agreement, 13 local DAB multiplexes will be launched by the end of 2013.
As well as DAB, streaming radio over IP in a car is also set to grow, supported by new connected cars and devices, new radio apps such as Radioplayer and improved 4G services. To drive consumer interest and take-up, the new industry advertising campaign “If you love radio, go digital” featuring digital radio evangelist D Love, launched in november 2012 on BBC TV, BBC radio and commercial radio and will run throughout 2013.
We are expecting another strong year for in-car digital radio in 2013 and we hope progress in the UK will help boost other international markets.
Technology and Market Development Director
Digital Radio UK