The trend towards digital radio continues unabated: in 2017 almost 600,000 DAB+ radios for use at home and out and about were sold. One particularly positive feature was that 85 percent of all new vehicles sold are now fitted as standard with a DAB+ radio. According to studies available to OFCOM, a total of 3.5 million devices are in circulation.
According to the six-monthly surveys conducted by the GfK research institute among almost all electronics dealers, a total of 304,000 DAB+ radios were sold in 2017. In addition, according to an analysis conducted on behalf of OFCOM some 290,000 vehicles sold in 2017 had a DAB+ device already fitted (280,000 units) or had one retrofitted (8200). The number of vehicles equipped as standard with DAB+ radios has increased sharply: at the end of 2016 the figure was 66 percent, whereas a year later it had reached 85 percent. Furthermore, for the first time the number of DAB+-enabled vehicles reached the one million mark.
On 9 February 2018 AG DigiMig announced that at the end of 2017, 61 percent of Swiss radio programme services were already being consumed digitally, i.e. via DAB+ or the internet. Digital radio usage has therefore increased by over 10 percentage points in eighteen months: from 49 percent in the autumn of 2015 to 61 percent in the autumn of 2017. At the same time, FM usage fell by 10 percentage points, from 51 percent to 41 percent. The trend towards digital radio usage is being driven mainly by DAB+. DAB+ currently holds 34 percent of all radio usage and since autumn 2015 usage has increased by 11 percentage points.
Strong upward trend in awareness
Awareness of DAB+ has increased greatly. Whereas in the autumn of 2016 approximately 25 per cent of those questioned on behalf of OFCOM were aware of this digital radio broadcasting technology, six months later the figure had already risen to 33 per cent. Now the figures for February 2018 confirm this trend: as in autumn 2017, today 39 percent of those surveyed cite the DAB+ broadcasting method unprompted, i.e. without the term being mentioned to them beforehand.
From 2020 onwards the radio industry plans to gradually phase out analogue FM radio broadcasting and to use DAB+ instead as the main broadcasting technology. In order to provide support for this switchover, OFCOM launched an information campaign in 2017. Since mid-2017 a range of information campaigns under the banner "Radio is changing" have been running on radio, television, the print media and billboards. More information on DAB+ can be found on the DABPlus website.