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U.K. Digital Switchover Projections Slowed

Projected full digital radio switchover not expected until 2019, although some regions could switch in 2017

Roger Darlington, chairman of the Digital Consumer Expert Group, told The Guardian newspaper that based on current trends, the United Kingdom is unlikely to switch most radio broadcasting to digital until 2019.

Under its Digital Radio Action Plan, the United Kingdom is working toward a 2015 switchover date; however, several preconditions have been placed on that target. Most notably, 50 percent of radio listening should be through a digital means: DAB radio, digital television or via the Internet.

Darlington said that, based upon current trends, that threshold is not like to be met until the first half of 2016. The 2015 switchover target presumes reaching 50 percent digital listening by 2013.

In the most recent listening figures, released by RAJAR in October covering the third quarter of 2011, 28.2 percent of radio listening is via a digital platform; 18 percent of all radio listening is via a DAB radio receiver.

Darlington said he expected to see a switchover happen in three phases beginning in 2016 and finishing in 2019.