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BBC 'to chop DAB radio flops'

Sent to bubbling mudbath

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The BBC may axe some of its digital-only radio stations, including 6Music and the Asian Network, according to a report. The Asian Network costs £25m but attracts only 360,000 listeners. It's reckoned to be as expensive per-minute as prime-time TV costume drama.

Radio6Music is also under threat as part of a separate review, and despite a higher profile doesn't fare much better, but at 695,000 has gained over the past year.

Those numbers may sound like a lot, but DAB-only stations are listened to by just over 3 per cent of the population, and the most popular - usually 6Music - may have only 25,000 listening at anyone time. Hence the reviews.

Audience research agency RAJAR published its latest quarterly numbers today, which you can peruse here.

And RAJAR reckons "all digital" listening was static quarter-on-quarter - although the agency, owned by the leading radio industry players, doesn't count time-shifting radio consumption, such as podcasts.

Ominously, despite a growth in penetration of DAB sets, there isn't a corresponding increase in DAB listening. DAB listening crept up to 13.7 per cent of households from 13.3 per cent quarter-on-quarter, despite half a million more households having a DAB set.

Not much point pinning hopes on saving DAB by getting us to send our FM sets to Africa, then, if most people continue to listen to use their DAB sets for listening to FM radio.

It's that chicken and egg problem again: axing unique, DAB-only content gives people fewer reasons to migrate to DAB. ®

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