Bavaria, a state in the south west of Germany, has a long history with the DAB standard of families. It was the first region to see a DAB station network in 1995 and paved the way in terms of DAB deployment in Germany. The state is the second most highly populated in Germany with 12.5 million potential listeners in the region. Bavaria is becoming a case study in how to rollout digital radio and make the transition from DAB to DAB+.
The success in Bavaria has been mainly due to the cooperation between public broadcaster, Bayerischer Rundfunk and some of the major commercial broadcasters in the region, such as Antenne Bayern and Absolut Radio to name a few. This broadcaster cooperation is also helped by a proactive regulator, the Bavarian regulator the Bayerische Landeszentrale für neue Medien (BLM). Throughout the implementation of DAB in the region and as part of the transition to DAB+ the BLM offered help, support and incentives to broadcasters to ensure long term benefits to switching to digital radio.
The development in Bavaria would also not have been possible without Bayern Digital Radio (BDR). Founded in 1998 and based in Munich the company combines the know-how of Bayerischer Rundfunk, Media Broadcast (the national network operator), Bayerische Medien Technik Gmbh and includes the participation of the Bavarian Regulatory Authority for Commercial Broadcasting. Core business of the company is the swift and efficient expansion of the digital radio network in Bavaria. In addition, the company undertakes the marketing of capacity units for digital radio and data services. Their consumer website, promotional events and marketing have ensured that consumers in the region were aware of digital radio from the start and continued to support the marketing of digital radio for the benefit of all broadcasters – not always an easy job with the changing landscape of digital radio in Germany.
Bavaria is at the heart of the German automotive industry and broadcasters in the region have been working closely with the car industry over the past couple of years to promote the benefits of digital radio to the automotive industry. Bavaria has one of the most developed digital radio networks and so makes a good region for in car testing. Regular discussions are held with BMW and Audi, who are both in the region and a press conference was held in Munich in 2010 to allow the German automotive industry to voice its support for digital radio.
Moving to DAB+
Unlike the rest of Germany where the launch of DAB+ is heralding a new era for digital radio Bavaria is having to adapt its DAB networks, deal with the issue of legacy receivers and, in some respects start from a new beginning as the choice on digital expands locally, regionally and now for the first time nationally. however, the Bavarians are attacking the challenge and using the knowledge gained from their experiences of DAB to make DAB+ a success. It was announced in mid-2012 that 200,000 listeners tune into digital radio (DAB+) on at least one digital radio channel per day on an average weekday in the region of Bavaria…this is only one year after the start of DAB+ digital radio in Germany and is an impressive start! Bavaria can also boast that its listeners have the greatest choice of digital services of all the Bundeslander in Germany, both from the public and commercial sector. stations on-air can be viewed at the WorldDMB website under the German country information section. http://www.worlddab.org/ country_information_/germany
Coverage and future plans
2013 looks like another good year for the Bavarian market with plans for new data services from the public broadcaster – BR already broadcasts additional programme related information such as news, weather, traffic and travel information, sports scores and airport information. The marketing initiatives in this region are also going ahead with the backing of campaigns now from the nation digital radio network.
WorldDMB Project Office