The number of people in Germany who use a DAB + device to listen to the radio has increased noticeably. This means that the digitalization of media consumption is also advancing on the radio. That emerges from the current digitization report of the media companies. Accordingly, around five million DAB + radios were sold in this country last year. In other words, devices that receive the so-called terrestrial radio signals transmitted via radio masts via digital frequencies. Their number adds up to a total of 21.7 million.
In contrast, the number of VHF radios that receive terrestrial radio signals in the classic way via analog frequencies is falling. However, at a high level – VHF is still the main distribution channel for radio programs, by a large margin ahead of DAB +, which is in second place, as well as the other reception options via the Internet, cable and satellite. There are almost 122 million VHF devices in Germany today, six times as many as there are with DAB +. However, this is around 20 million fewer than in 2015. This decline is primarily due to car radios, which are increasingly digitally received. Since this year there has even been an obligation that new cars have to be equipped with a DAB + -capable radio.
Saxony and Bavaria are the leading DAB + federal states
The number of households with at least one DAB + radio set has risen to eleven million. That is more than a quarter of all German households, namely 27 percent. In view of 22 million devices, this means that households using DAB + have an average of two digital receivers, be it in the house or in the car. The equipment with DAB + radios is particularly good in Bavaria and Saxony-Anhalt, where every third household already has at least one device. The capital Berlin is at the bottom of the list, with only one in five households there.
The number of internet radio stations has also increased, albeit at a lower level and with a lower growth rate. Almost seven million households now have an IP radio. Hybrid devices that receive both DAB + and IP signals, however, do not play a significant role. Smart speakers, i.e. loudspeakers connected to the Internet, are not a major driver of digitalization progress in radio broadcasting either.
Since there are significantly more frequencies over DAB + than in the FM spectrum, the range of services is also expanded through digital technology. There are now 70 terrestrial radio programs that can only be received via DAB +.