My experience of working with digital radio in Norway and my extensive involvement with WorldDMB has given me a good overview of the many different aspects that affect the adoption and roll out of digital radio. It has also given me an understanding of how new issues arise during the course of its implementation. Past barriers to the adoption of digital radio have been addressed through the collaboration and work of WorldDMB members. Consequently, today we see a high volume and range of receivers available on the high street at affordable prices and there has been huge growth in just the last few years of OEM DAB devices being included in vehicle. Without receivers at low prices digital radio cannot be a success – this much I have learnt.
The other key obstacle to the adoption of digital radio was the perception that there were no proven financial incentives for public and private broadcasters to switch to digital. This has now been addressed through the WorldDMB commissioned Business Case Scenarios Report, which highlights different monetary opportunities implemented by broadcasters across Europe and Asia Pacific.
Having addressed these previous concerns we cannot now sit back. Technology and consumer expectations constantly evolve and the changes we see today of internet, TV and consumer usage of new devices have all had a knock on effect on how different technologies compete in the marketplace. Consequently new issues have arisen that need to be addressed; otherwise there may be fundamental changes in the market that could affect the future success of radio and its compatibility in the digital age.
To me and many others, the issue of hybrid radio is the next big issue that is being examined by the radio industry. The combining of broadcast and broadband is the way forward and I hope we will see one universal hybrid solution that combines and utilises the different strengths of the two platforms to provide a truly interactive experience for the consumer in the coming years. WorldDMB has identified this as the case and is working on addressing it with industry stakeholders. Work also continues on including DAB+ in car and DAB+ and DMB in mobile phone and tablet devices and I expect to see the progress made over the last year will continue to gather momentum. These new and on-going issues – hybrid, mobile and automotive -present exciting and new challenges which I am proud to be able to work on with WorldDMB and its members. By addressing these challenges the radio broadcasting industry will be able to provide the consumer with an enhanced, more engaging digital radio experience and ensure radio continues to remain competitive in a digital future.