RAIN 10/18: Almost 30% of UK radio listening now on digital platforms

Paul Maloney
October 18, 2012 - 9:00am

Ofcom -- the UK government's counterpart to the FCC in the U.S. -- has published its third "Digital Radio Report" as it anticipates an eventual nationwide "switchover" of all radio to digital platforms.

Ofcom would like the switchover to happen in 2015 -- but they're waiting for 50% of all radio listening to be via digital platforms, and national DAB coverage to be comparable to that of FM (and local DAB to reach 90% of the population and all major roads). (DAB is the UK's digital radio system, along the same lines as, but significantly different than, HD Radio in the U.S.)

For the 12 months ending in June 2012, data from RAJAR show 29.5% "of all radio listening hours were to services delivered over a digital platform."

Listening on a DAB digital radio set was the most widely-used method, accounting for just under 65% of all digital listening hours. Digital television was almost 16%, and Internet radio accounted for over 13%. The most-listened-to "digital only" stations were BBC Radio 4 Extra, 6 Music, and Five Live Sports Extra (all with over a million average weekly listeners).

Interestingly -- and The Telegraph points this out -- just 6.7 million radio sets were sold in this time period, which is an 18.3% drop from the same period last year. The paper attributes this to "radio listening (that) is now online or via apps, and new apps such as the iPlayer and Radioplayer (that) have encouraged more users to listen via their mobiles."

Read the summary of Ofcom's report here; and coverage from The Telegraph here.

Paul Maloney
October 18, 2012 - 9:00am

Logitech this week began the digital marketing campaign to support its new line of streaming music devices and accessories. The Logitech UE line includes two boom boxes, a smart radio that plays Internet radio, online music services and music on a computer, noise-isolating earphones, and three styles of headphones (coverage in RAIN is here). The ad campaign was spotlighted in The New York Times' Media & Advertising section.

The campaign is three different videos depicting "real-life situations where music played a vital role" (a Christmas Eve cease-fire on the Western Front during World War I, pirate radio off the coast of Britain, and astronauts on the International Space Station listening to music).  

Logitech, incidentally, raised the ire of the Squeezebox user community (of which your humble correspondent is/was an avid participant) when it became apparent that the company will (at some point) discontinue support for the platform in favor of UE line. CNet explained (here), "The Squeezebox network audio streamers weren't typical products; owners were buying into an ecosystem of products. The ability to add more Squeezebox products to your network was a major selling point, making Squeezebox owners more invested in the platform than you'd be with another gadget. The Squeezebox ecosystem also includes software, and now there's a serious question as to how long the now-discontinued products will continue to work at full functionality. Squeezebox products rely on the MySqueezebox.com server to access streaming services like Rhapsody, Spotify, Pandora, and Internet radio."

Logitech did eventually state that it intends to "actively support the (Squeezebox) service," but hasn't not indicated how long that support will last.

Webcasters Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Slacker are running the campaign in the United States (it's also on Vevo, Myspace, YouTube, and Spotify). Logitech is also running banner ads with links to the videos on hundreds of web sites in the U.S., Britain, Switzerland, and Sweden.

Logitech's new UE products are currently available only at Apple retail locations and on the Web sites of Apple and Logitech. Beginning October 21, they will be available online and offline through BestBuy and at Amazon.com, while select products will also be available at Verizon stores in November.

Read The New York Times' campaign spotlight here.

Paul Maloney
October 18, 2012 - 9:00am

Today Songza has announced that since its August launch in Canada (here), they've exceeded 900,000 iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad installs in Canada, accounting for the majority of the over 160,000,000 streams served so far to one million registered users there. And, according to company metrics, the average time per visit for Canadians is 3.66% longer than that of U.S. listeners.

Songza is the webcaster known for its "music concierge" interface that offers playlists based on the time of day and a listener's likely activities.

Songza reveals that when listeners browse by "Mood," "Mellow" is the top choice on both sides of the 49th Parallel. (Americans’ next most-popular mood category is "Happy," while Canadians’ is "Sexual.") The top "Activity" stations for both Americans and Canadians are Working- and studying-related; but the third most popular for Canadians is "Cardio Workouts" while it's "Partying" in the U.S.