UK Radio Analyst Spins Government Report on Digital Radio

September 1, 2010

When the British communication regulatory authority Ofcom recently issued its first annual review of the state of digital radio in the UK, many in the radio industry there applauded.

But not everyone is taking the Ofcom Digital Radio Progress Report at face value. Among the pundits taking exception to some of its conclusions is UK radio specialist and blogger Grant Goddard, who has released his own take on the data provided in the Ofcom document. Entitled The First Annual Not "The Ofcom Digital Radio Progress Report" Report, Goddard's analysis uses current industry and consumer data to turn some of Ofcom's optimistic projections for digital radio's growth upside down.

Among the points with which Goddard differs from Ofcom:

  • Projections for DAB radio sales: Goddard makes the point that sales to date are lagging well behind previous Ofcom estimates and that the uptake rate of receivers is actually slowing.
  • Digital radio listening: Again Goddard uses current data, this time to project a trend line that suggest the UK may not reach a point where at least half of all national listening is taking place via digital platforms until the end of 2018, three years later than most government forecasts.
  • Percentage of digital listening to digital only content: Here, Goddard asserts that only a small percentage of DAB listeners are listening to exclusively digital content as opposed to content available via both analog and digital transmission, making such content better suited to a niche delivery platform, such as Web radio.

    While Goddard's critique of Ofcom concerns what he perceives as inaccuracies in their reporting, he's not alone in critiquing DAB as its been implemented in the UK, and those who oppose its universal adoption due to its outdated coding technology and high operating costs are likely to seize upon it to support their own arguments.

    Ofcom indirectly responded to Goddard's critique in a recent edition of Media Week.

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