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digital radio


this is turn makes our products appeal to both radio listeners and streaming fans.” The growth in smart speakers has


contributed to the increase in digital listening, Yvette notes. “Alongside the great range of DAB radios


available, the key trend we are seeing is the increasing number of smart and voice- controlled speakers now available,” she says. “One in ten adults in the UK now has a smart speaker, and they are a great way to listen to radio, with live radio accounting for the majority of audio listening on these devices. “Broadcasters are harnessing the popularity of smart speakers, launching new services and brand-specific skills, and now listeners will routinely hear guidance on how to find a station on a voice-controlled speaker promoted on air alongside other listening platforms, such as via DAB and smart phone.


Digital radio today


is a more inviting proposition than it has ever been


“That said, DAB is the platform where the vast majority of digital listening is taking place, at 72% of all digital listening. National and local DAB coverage has been transformed, and is now available in over 90% of the UK, through Government and broadcasters investing in the launch of an additional 435 digital transmitters, so DAB remains incredibly important. “Progressively, the combination of IP and


broadcast delivery into a hybrid solution is a compelling and logical direction of travel for manufacturers of radios, and the advent of a voice-controlled IP-enabled domestic DAB radio will be ground-breaking.” While moving with the times is important,


David adds that not every trend will be here to stay. “Stores are awash with ‘connected’ products such as wireless speakers, AI products and smart home systems,” he says. “As a manufacturer we of course keep a close eye on technology trends, but we aren’t quick to include every new piece of technology that comes to market in our products. “So often we see the latest technology


‘fad’ come and go and for us it is crucial to only include functions which are of use to the customer. We focus on producing products that look great, sound great and are simple to operate; products that stand the test of time.”


‘Ensure the consumer has a reason to buy’ For retailers, it is important to educate consumers on the benefits of the latest products, as well as availability of DAB coverage.


22 | www.innovativeelectricalretailing.co.uk


Digital listening accounted for more than 50% of the overall listening market for the first time earlier this year


Owen says: “Retailers need to understand the dynamics of the market and be able to show lifestyle displays, and being able to demonstrate how to access the internet and utilise the voice intelligence is very important.” Yvette comments: “With the majority of


listening now to digital radio, it really is the new normal, and anyone not listening to digital radio is missing out on great product features and great stations. Retailers should make sure their staff understand the progress that has been made and can communicate it to customers. “All radios with the Digital Radio Tick Mark


are future-ready and will enable listeners to receive all the available DAB, DAB+ and FM stations. They can check their available stations there and then, in store, using our postcode checker at www.getdigitalradio.com. Have a radio on in store playing a digital-only station they may not have heard previously.” While progress has been made, especially


in terms of growing listenership, there is still a sizeable proportion of UK consumers who are yet to make the transition. “The next couple of years are without doubt


very important for the digital radio market,” says David. “With the rise of streaming services


set to continue it is important that the digital radio offering continues to improve so that radio remains a part of our lives. With the switchover criteria now met we are sure that the future of digital radio is a bright one.” Manufacturers must continue to innovate to


take advantage of growth in digital listening, Owen adds. “The device market is challenging and, as manufacturers, we are looking to add value to the market by differentiating on design and features – ensuring the consumer has a reason to buy,” he says. Yvette comments: “The digital transition is good news for radio and is helping the radio industry compete more effectively in a digital age. Radio remains robust and is stronger than ever in the face of greater competition. “With the 50% digital listening threshold now met, we anticipate that the Government will undertake a review to assess digital radio progress and determine the next steps for digital radio transition. “Although great progress has been made,


there’s still another 50% to go, and that presents a great opportunity for retailers and manufacturers, both in home and in car.”


September 2018


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