Monday 21 May 2018

DAB Receiver "Sales Record" - Another Lobbying Illusion

Sales are not impressive, not even in Norway
The WorldDAB organisation reports that almost 12 million DAB receivers were sold in 2017 in Europe and Asia Pacific, a new record for yearly sales. Almost half (5.9m) of the sales were for automotive devices, with key markets showing a significant increase in the number of cars sold with DAB fitted as standard.

The new data published by WorldDAB shows ”strong growth in the uptake of DAB across all major digital radio markets”. The WorldDAB infographic covers DAB receiver sales, population coverage, household penetration, digital radio reach, DAB share of listening and the number of national stations available on DAB – with statistics for ten markets in Europe and Asia Pacific up to the end of 2017. Cumulative sales for DAB receivers have now reached over 65 million for the markets covered: Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and the UK. (WorldDAB infographics below)

Patrick Hannon, President, WorldDAB said: The last 12 months have been a strong period for DAB radio. International receiver sales are at their highest level ever – boosted by the switch-off of FM in Norway and strong growth in other European markets. He also says that DAB is increasingly becoming a global standard.

The UK (36 million), Germany (nearly 10 million) and Norway (nearly 6 million) have the largest installed base of receivers.

Read more:  2017: a record year for DAB receiver sales (WorldDAB release)

Sales of DAB radios in Norway in 2018 is not going according to expectations. Prior to the Easter holidays the leading importer and seller of DAV receivers Sahaga AS put a lots of brands for sale at 40-50% discount. According to its financial analysis the chain Mekonomen concluded that during the first quarter it was negatively affected by significantly lower sales of DAB products in Norway. During the first quarter, a write-down of DAB products in inventories was made which had a negative effect of SEK 20 million on earnings.

  • WorldDAB is an organisation created by public broadcasters and the EBU in the 1990's in order to promote the DAB technology for terrestrial digital radio. Promoters of other competing system (some more modern and efficient) lack the power of WorldDAB which is much funded by public means (tv license fees or taxes). The other systems are DRM, HD Radio, DVB-T2 Lite, CDR and ISDB-T.


WorldDAB is trying to make bricks without straw. The cumulative sales for DAB receivers presented with infographics by WorldDAB indicates sales of 65 million sets 2008-2017 but the real period is  starting already 1995 with the U.K. representing most sales;  55 %. It should also be noted that sales in Norway is not made on a free market driven by consumer demand but rather by coercion. Listeners were forced to switch-over from FM (and old DAB) to DAB+ in order to be able to listen to national radio. To include this in ”record sales” is just dishonest.

The WorldDAB figures should also be put in a global perspective. There are more than 6 billion FM receivers in the world only to be challenged by 2,5 billion smartphones as a platform for radio listening. It is quite difficult to envisage Patrick Hannon’s vision that DAB is becoming "a global standard".

As always with its infographics WorldDAB never mention the listeners. How many are really using DAB as a listening platform?  There are only  five countries with a DAB listening on a weekly basis of more than 10%;  the U.K. Denmark, Norway, Australia and Switzerland. And all 220 countries in the world are still using FM radio - even Norway.

For a technology being on the market for more than 22 years an installed based of 65 million receivers it is a record - of failure.  There might be some problems as slanted facts presented by a resourceful lobby organisation are being regularly republished without any prior scrutiny by media journalists.

Also read
The Illusions of the DAB Radio World Are Worrying
The Impossible Mission: A Global Future for DAB Radio