The UK Government has published its response to the Digital Radio and Audio Review. The Government’s response agrees with the main conclusions of the Review, including those related to smart speakers, but does not propose specific actions on this issue.
The Digital Radio and Audio Review was commissioned in February 2020 by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to look in detail at the landscape for radio and audio over the coming years, and to make recommendations with regard to industry and government. The Review was prepared collaboratively between DCMS and industry stakeholders and published in October 2021.
The context for the review was our changing habits in how we listen to radio: digital radio listening now amounts to over 60% of all listening, and increasingly we listen to radio via connected streaming services.
In line with the Review’s conclusions, the Government has agreed to maintain analogue radio (i.e. FM and AM) until at least 2030 with a further review to look into this proposed for 2026.
The Government also agreed with the Review’s conclusions in relation to smart speakers saying that “the case has been made for taking action to protect radio’s long term position in the context of the rapid growth in usage of smart speakers, and to ensure the continuation of the huge public value which radio provides”. Listening via connected devices now makes up a fifth of all listening. According to the Government this could carry the risk that the third party digital platforms could manage and limit access to radio. However, the Government did not propose specific recommendations, instead noting that “any intervention would need to be considered alongside other work on digital markets and data protection reform”.
Frontier Economics advises radio, media and digital clients in the UK, Europe and elsewhere on issues relating to content policy, regulatory intervention and digital markets.
Read the UK Government’s response to the Digital Radio and Audio Review here.
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