The automotive industry is key to ensuring the successful roll-out of digital radio. Therefore, WorldDMB have focused on working closely with the international car sector throughout 2011 and extensive progress has been made.
In November the German automotive manufacturers BMW, Audi and Daimler joined a press conference hosted by Bayern Digital Radio to publicly show their support for digital radio. These important brands announced all of the models which currently support DAB will also support DAB+.
This follows an announcement by Ford in early 2011 that digital radio will be standard in all models by 2013, one year earlier than the UK industry-wide agreement. A survey carried out by the SMMT (UK Automotive Association) and CAP said that the number of new cars fitted with digital radio as standard has risen by 184% between January and September compared with the same period in 2010.
Australia is also seeing a commitment from the local automotive sector. BMW was the first manufacturer to announce DAB+ as a factory fit option in Australia swiftly followed by Audi.
In addition the following automotive brands are now offering DAB/DAB+ as an option or as standard accross their ranges: Fiat, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus, Mercedes Benz, Mini, Renault, Seat, TVR, Toyota, Vauxhall, Volkswagen and Volvo.
2011 has also seen a growth in the after sales market, with new devices coming to high street. In November Pure launched the new Highway 300Di which has been promoted by broadcasters and is being supported by the car equipment retailer Halfords.
Country progress update
With the automotive sector increasingly on board, the broadcasters now have the responsibility to drive the momentum for the adoption of the standards forward.
In the UK Digital Radio UK (working to progress digital radio) in partnership with the Society ofMotor Manufacturers and Traders (supporting the interests of the UK automotive industry) held the first in-vehicle digital radio conference. At the event BBC, where the UK Government committed to a digital future for radio, the BBC announced its intention to buildout to 97% DAB digital radio coverage by 2015, and Vauxhall (the 2nd largest vehicle manufacturer in the UK) committed to having DAB digital radio across the entire vehicle range by 2013.
Also at the conference, Digital Radio UK confirmed the industry’s intent to launch a two-year connected consumer communications campaign starting in December 2011. Worth over £10 million, this will run across BBC TV, national print and radio. The conference was also the site for in-depth discussions on traffic and travel service provisions, in-vehicle installation and the Digital Radio Certification Mark
The German digital radio market is also supporting the development of digital radio in cars after the launch this year of the national digital radio multiplex. German broadcasters have been co-ordinating their efforts with automotive brands providing information on which services will be on-air and clear product specification guidelines. One of the five Working groups on digital radio is also dedicated to Traffic & Travel services.
As mentioned the German automotive sector joined the broadcasting industry to publicly support digital radio as part of an on-going press campaign. There were also models on display at Frankfurt Motor Show which included digital radio
Switzerland is also continuing to work closely with the automotive sector to ensure that Swiss drivers receive the best digital radio experience possible. With coverage at 99%, the Swiss market is now focusing on a plan for tunnel re-broadcast systems – a voice break-in which can be used in emergencies. This project is an important digital radio and automotive collaboration.
Finally, looking towards Australia Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) continues to broadcast automotive promotions and work is ongoing on ensuring an acceptable level of coverage is reached in cities and for the automotive sector. In addition work is also onging on putting in in-tunnel repeaters. Work on TPEG services is also being carried out alongside manufacturers to get services on-air and devices in the market. Early in 2011 over 100 representatives of the automotive industry attended an event dedicated to the promotion of digital radio in cars.
WorldDMB continues to work closely with the automotive sector:
-The Project Office has regular contact with all of the major automotive associations around Europe SMMT, VDA and ATA.
-This year’s WorldDMB Car Manufacturers event once again brought together the broadcast andautomotive industries from across Europe.
-Importantly, WorldDMB has also been working on providing the broadcast industry with clear guidelines for ‘Service Following’ an area in which the automotive and broadcast sectors have combined to give the driver the best experience.
-WorldDMB attends many of the key automotive events to track trends within the in-car sector including Frankfurt Motor Show, Telematics Update Munich and the Tokyo Motor Show.
-WorldDMB also provides information and education to automotive brands and this year both BMW & Audi became WorldDMB members.
Future take up rates…
“Sales of factory-fit DAB radio are forecast to grow rapidly from 600,000 units in 2010 (representing a 5% fitment rate) to 5.8 million in 2015 (representing a 35% fitment rate)” – SBD, The Future of Broadcast and Internet radio in car, July 2011.
WorldDMB Project Office