Our Sectors

Audio production companies work across many audio-led disciplines, including: radio production; podcasting; audiobooks; live events; audio games; audio guides; radio station and audio branding; CD and other audio format media production.

You can read more about our three main sectors here:

Radio

Independent radio production first began with producers making programmes for Radio Luxembourg in the 1950s and 1960s, but the main commissioner of independently produced radio programmes is currently the BBC, which began commissioning in its current form in 1992.

The BBC had a voluntary 10 percent quota, augmented from 2010 by an additional 10% Window of Creative Competition (WoCC) which was introduced when the then Radio Independents Group (RIG) argued for greater access to compete for BBC commissions.

This was followed by the commitment in the BBC Charter of 2016 to open up a minimum of 60% non-news BBC Radio commissioning to competition by the end of 2022. This was again achieved through AudioUK/RIG’s representation work, which successfully made the case to the BBC that its ‘Compete or Compare’ competitive strategy should be applied to radio commissioning as well as TV. To find out more about Radio /Sounds commissioning, including how to become a registered BBC supplier, visit their commissioning page here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/commissioning/radio.

More recently the Government, following representations from AudioUK, agreed to allocate up to £3m from its contestable fund to create the Audio Content Fund, which is distributing grants over a three-year pilot period to provide for innovative original public service programming on commercial and community radio. AudioUK, along with commercial radio body Radiocentre, jointly set up the ACF and sit on its Board.

Our members also operate internationally, exporting radio content, skills, expertise and services such as station branding and live broadcast events.

We work with our members companies to further strengthen our sector in terms of radio production and related activity.

Podcasts

The podcast sector is steadily growing in the UK, having first risen to prominence in the US. Our ready–made independent audio production sector has turned its skills to making high-quality professional podcasts, and the new format has also led to new producers setting up companies and building podcast-only business, extending their production to live events and in some cases moving them into television.

The current value of the UK Podcast market was estimated by Trisonic/Digiday in March 2019 at c£25m, and is growing rapidly. Ofcom figures show that the proportion of the UK population listening to podcasts is steadily rising.

The sector has grown organically with many podcast-makers starting off on a freelance basis. AudioUK is encouraging these talented people to take the next step to ensure they maximise their talent and its value as well as learning new skills in audio production and in managing and growing their businesses.

AudioUK works with members companies active in this area to strengthen our sector in terms of podcast production and related activity. One such initiative is our work to support the introduction of an Audio Production Tax Relief (APTR).

Audiobooks

The audiobook production sector is, like podcasts, growing organically, with a mixture of production companies, in-house studios and freelance narrators and producers all contributing to the making of audiobooks.

Recent analysis by Neilsen states that 2021 will be a seventh year of double-digit growth in volume of audiobook purchases – around 25 million units at a value of close to £200m.

UK consumer audiobook sales rose by 71% between 2019 and 2021, as reported by the Publishers Association.

AudioUk works with its members to develop policy to build our sector in audiobook production.

Other

Our members also create high-quality audio-led content and services in a range of other areas: events, audio games, audio guides, radio/audio branding, studio hire, CD and other physical audio media production.