It is expected that 20 further trials will go on-air across France in 2012 showing the commitment of broadcasters in France to move radio into the digital age.
-Amongst the supporters of digital radio is Syndicat Professionnel des Radios et Televisions Independants (SIRTI), who represent independent regional and multi-city broadcasters and comprises of 140 radio stations.
They are campaigning for the rights of their members who see going digital as a means for growth in a market where FM frequencies have now been filled.
Rachid Arhab, Digital Radio Specialist Advisor at the French regulator the CSAhas also been vocal in his support for radio going digital. At this year’s Le Radio conference he called for digital radio to be launched before the end of 2012.
Even the once negative voices of Les Echos and Le Figaro, the larger national print media, are starting to ask why France is not tackling the digital radio issue. The desire to discover more about digital radio and move to a digital platform by the majority of the French radio industry was evident at the Le Radio conference. Digital radio was firmly on the agenda and during the conference session dedicated to digital radio, Rachid Arhab confirmed the CSA’s request to the French Ministry of Industry to include DAB+ in the technical standard for France.
The level of interest and support for digital radio was notably high amongst delegates with both the WorldDMB workshop and the conference session dedicated to digital radio both filled to capacity. A highlight of the conference session was the promotional video for the newly launched trial RNT Nantes which gave a fun look at the reasons to go digital. Le Radio conference organiser, Philippe Chapot reinforced the overall message coming from the majority of the French radio industry saying that “France wishes to commit to adding DAB+ to its technical standard, a move that will show Frances desire to bringing radio into the digital future, enabling the industry to compete with other digital forms of media entertainment by providing more functionality, interactivity and choice for the consumer.”
The WorldDMB Project Office will continue in its support of the French radio industry as they work for the adoption and migration to DAB+.
The first trial on-air, RNT Lyon project covers the Lyon area and provides listeners with 15 new stations. This trial launched in April 2011 and included a consumer website with information on the new services on air, coverage information and which retailers were stocking receivers. After a successful launch it was confirmed that the trial would be extended and that 14 new broadcasters were due to join a second multiplex. For full information on this trial go to www.rntlyon.com
The second trial covered Marseille and three surrounding villages with 12 new services. PURE, a leading receiver manufacturer, is supporting the trial and has worked with retailers at a national and local level to ensure receivers are available and that local sales staff understand the benefits of digital radio. www.raje.fr
The most recent trial covers the Loire-Atlantique region of Nantes. The launch was attended by officials from the CSA and the regional authorities of Nantes. Local broadcasters from Nantes joining this trial also showed their support alongside the national partners on this trial. Notably Continental and the car manufacturer PSA Peugeot Citroen have also been supportive of the trial. For further information on this trial go to www.rntnantes.fr
WorldDMB Project Office