The Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB) is projecting that some 21% of British households will have a DAB radio receiver by year-end 2007. By 2011, that percentage is expected to reach 58.8%.
On his blog, James Cridland notes that if one compares the sales of DAB sets with those of iPods from the launch of each to year-end 2006, DAB is more popular than the iPod:
DAB Digital Radio really launched for Christmas, 2002, when the Pure Evoke, the first really consumer product, went on sale. The Apple iPod was launched in April 2001, with a Mac-only product. The Windows-compatible iPod was launched in July 2002. So it’s interesting that only 2 million iPods had been sold in the UK by mid-2006. Which makes the iPod — iconic and tremendously popular device as it is — less popular than DAB Digital Radio.
According to DRDB, by year-end 2007, there will be around 6.6 million DAB radios in U.K. homes. By 2010, half of all U.K. households are expected to have a DAB radio.
DRDB Chief Executive Ian Dickens stated: “A number of manufacturers are already starting to see the value of adding DAB digital radio to some of these new form factors [MP3 players, docking stations and mobile telephones, for instance]. While it is important to continue to see successful growth in traditional radio products, DAB’s longer-term future lies in the penetration of these new products, along with in-car and mobile phones. Over the coming months, the DRDB will be changing its shape and focus to ensure that radio moves swiftly down this road.”
Listening to DAB digital radio is growing fast, too. The latest RAJAR report (Q2 07) indicates that DAB has moved from a niche platform with less than 1 million listeners in 2003 to the point where some 12.8% of radio listening is via a DAB platform.
“Overall listening to digital-only services is growing quickly, from 905,000 listeners in Q2, 2003 to 6.09 million in Q2, 2007 and during an average week 26.2% of the population (adults 15+) now listen to radio via a digital platform,” according to RAJAR.