Mari Hagerup, Head of Communication – Media and External relations, Digitalradio Norway
After six months without nationwide FM broadcasts in parts of the country, surveys show that listeners remain loyal to radio
On January 11th 2017, national radio broadcasts on FM were switched off in the Nordland region. This started a nationwide FM switch off that will make Norway the first country in the world with full digital radio broadcasts.
The radio switchover will strengthen the radio medium for the years to come. The apparent trend half a year after the first shutdown shows that new digital channels have increased their support at the expense of the big channels.
“Digitization provides more radio channels across the country. This gives the listeners more channels to choose from, and will secure radio as a strong and relevant medium in the years to come,” says Ole Jørgen Torvmark, CEO of Digitalradio Norway.
The radio industry believes that overall listening in Norway would be lower today without digitization.
Better than expected
The radio industry was prepared for the switchover to create a temporary decrease in total radio listening throughout 2017, as the population needs time to convert to digital.
This is also reflected in the total numbers of listeners, which declined 2.7 percentage points during the first six months of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. 65.9 percent of Norwegians listened to radio daily in the first half of 2017, 68.8 percent in the first half of 2016. Listening hours remains stable with 125 minutes both years.
“The figures are actually slightly better than expected. We’ve been expecting to lose listeners temporarily, but to return to 2016 levels next year,” says Torvmark.
DAB-listening is dominating at home
The number of DAB radios has grown by one million devices since January. 78 percent of the population has at least one DAB radio, according to the Digital Radio Survey from Kantar TNS (week 19, 2017). Norway now has more than one million cars with DAB and 49 percent of all car owners who listen to the radio daily have DAB in the car already.
Most radio-listening happens at home. 44% of daily radio listeners now use DAB radio at home, while 17% use FM radio. The survey was carried out by Kantar TNS, when 34.6 percent of the households no longer had FM-radio-transmissions from public service-broadcaster NRK.
Radio Survey (PPM):
Digital radio survey:
78 percent of households have one (or more) DAB radios
Total DAB radios total 4,133,000 in the country. This has increased by one million since the shutdown began.
38 percent of households have DAB radio in the car
This corresponds to more than one million cars. 49% of car owners who listen to the radio daily have DAB in the car.
73 percent of daily radio listeners use digital radio
This corresponds to more than 2 million Norwegians.