The time is right for a review on digital radio switchover

The latest RAJAR figures (covering Sep-Dec 2018) show even more of us are listening to digital radio, with 52.6% of all radio listening now digital. This shows the great work by retail, manufacturers, the car industry and broadcasters to create the content people want and its clear people are literally buying into digital radio at record numbers.

The next RAJARs will likely show even higher growth in digital listening as Christmas device sales are factored in (as well as strongly publicised new stations and on-air talent line ups) so we believe now is the time for DCMS to formally commit to a review on whether the UK should go fully digital.

The Government said they would review the case for a digital switchover when digital listening exceeded 50% and after meeting that target last that last year industry is keen to understand the future UK roadmap for this technology. We support a review that commits to a firm date for a full digital switchover some time in the next decade, so the sector and broadcasters have certainty and a clear direction of travel to invest in new products and develop new content.

We’re meeting the Digital Minister next month alongside other key stakeholders from the retail, supply chain and broadcast communities and we’re excited to discuss the opportunities and economic benefits of a switchover with a clear date. The biggest growth in the latest RAJARs came from commercial operators and what digital allows is a lot more diverse content to represent a more diverse Britain and delivered to listeners in a way that provides a much better listener experience. A switchover is better for the economy too as it creates new revenue opportunities, drives innovation in devices and creates jobs and growth in the media and creative industries, sectors where the UK has a strategic advantage over most other countries.We don’t deny there are challenges with a digital switchover, but with a clear date we can plan effectively and learn the lessons from elsewhere.

As the UK faces big decisions on its role in the world and what the future economy should look like, taking a bold and digital first decision will show the UK as a forward thinking and tech friendly nation.

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