On the 1st of August 2011 Germany broadcast digital radio services on their first ever digital nationwide multiplex.
Fourteen new stations from a football programme, to rock, pop, classical, talk and Christian radio can now be heard across Germany and with the national multiplex being shared between both public and private broadcasters it is expected that the new stations on air will increase in number in the very near future.
In addition to new content being made available in this huge European radio market, the consumer now also has access to enhanced functionality on the many new digital radio models available on the high street and from on-line stores. With the onset of colour touch-screen radios, broadcasters are now able to offer consumers new interactive functionality such as programme data, album cover art, and targeted advertising, letting the German radio industry better meet the requirements of a digitally aware and demanding audience.
And with space set aside for nationwide data services including traffic and travel information the new digital radio market can expect full support from the German automotive industry as well.
The German radio industry reached this momentous occasion by working together in a remarkable manner. The whole industry worked in a spirit of coordination and co-operation, not only amongst the broadcasting industry, but also by the support received from the Government, the sixteen regulators, the automotive industry and many more to take digital radio forward. A 360 degree co-operation has been key to the success of not only the launch but also, it is hoped, the up-take of digital radio by the German consumers in the future.
Steps taken prior to the launch
– The German Digital Radio project office (Deutschland Digital Radio) was created to co-ordinate the efforts of all stakeholders on the national multiplex, the public broadcasters (ARD) and Deutschland Radio.
– Five Working Groups were created to guide all areas of digital radio development and rollout. Areas covered include: Networks, Products, Marketing and Advertising, Traffic & Travel and Automotive.
– The network operator, Media Broadcast has provided regular and clear information on the roll out schedule and coverage to consumers wanting to know if they are in a coverage area. 27 transmitters are on-air in the first stage covering all major cities and autobahns (motorways) and plans for coverage of up to 99% in some areas are due by 2014.
– A consumer on-air marketing campaign between broadcasters, manufacturers and retailers has been launched to inform the public and retail staff working in high street shops about the advantages of purchasing a digital radio.
With all relevant radio industry stakeholders collaborating to bring about the launch of DAB+, 40 million Germans now have the ability to tune into new digital radio services.
How the German market has brought radio into the digital age
– Broadcasters joined together to inform and educate the consumer market about new on-air content so that manufacturers were able to provide the right products to the market at the right price.
– Kommission zur Ermittlung des Finanzbedarfs der Rundfunkanstalten, the German public broadcaster funding body (KEF) and the German government assigned funding to launch digital radio and for regulation.
-The German Automotive Associations (VDA, ADAC) and the German manufacturers Association (ZVEI) have been consulted and have shown their support for digital radio development.
WorldDMB Project Office