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Germany: The point of no return

The digital radio market since its launch in Germany in August 2011 has seen some key indicators that demonstrate that Germany is at a point of no return in its campaign for digital radio rollout.

During a dedicated digital radio session at Radiodays Europe, Berlin (17- 19 March) Michael Reichert from the ARD Digital Radio Project Office highlighted just a few of these key indicators to demonstrate that Germany may have reached the point of no return in its quest to rollout digital radio. He also provided an overview of the continuing work of the Project Office in its campaign to ensure full coverage of DAB+ in Germany and raise consumer awareness.

The messages that are being reinforced by the German radio industry are that digital radio is:

– attractive and state-of-the-art radio
– a new product with new content
– easy to use
– affordable and attractive receivers in a range of styles (over 250 models available)
– DAB+ and IP radio are complimentary technologies and the aim is to provide a seamless media experience

issue 18 noxon promoCoverage and Services

There are currently 13 national stations and over 60 of the well-known regional ARD radio stations available digitally. Furthermore, 27 commercial regional stations and also a lively local radio scene in Bavaria which is complementing the broad variety of content. The total coverage is currently at 90.1% which has been achieved since the launch of DAB+ in Germany in August 2011. ARD and MediaBroadcast are continuing their work of extending their transmitter networks with Würzburg, Chemnitz and Thüringen being the latest to be covered. In total more than 20 new transmitters will be added during 2013.

Work is also underway by the ARD to provide categorised slideshow by mid 2013. View examples of how interactive slideshow is currently being used in Germany by clicking here.

The momentum of digital radio rollout in Germany is further reinforced by receiver sales:

– Over 500,000 devices were sold in 2011/2012
– Expected sales to reach 650,000 in 2013 (GFK statistics)
– Portable digital radios are a sales hit – bucking the trend according to the German Association for Consumer and Electronics (GFU)

Further news from the German market indicating that digital radio beyond the point of no return is that the leading automotive brands such as VW, BMW, DAIMLER and OPEL are now line fitting DAB+ or offering it as optional to German consumers.

UntitledMoving forward

The focus for the German market is now on marketing initiatives with the newly formed Digital Radio Initiative overseeing the facilitation of consumer and retail marketing with a consistent brand and message on digital radio. The new Project Office carries out practical work for the joint initiative between the ARD, Dradio, Media Broadcast and commercial broadcasters.

The ARD Project Office for Digital Radio similar, to other country rollout bodies such as DRUK and Digitalradio Norge, undertakes key initiatives to help smooth the transition to digital radio.

These activities include:

– Planning and running events (e.g. expert forums)
– Handling, coordination and realisation of b2c campaigns
– Maintenance of a consumer website (www.digitalradio.de)
– Coordination, development and support for ARD-campaigns
– Presentation on b2c-tradeshows (e.g. IFA, IAA)
– Working with industry stakeholders (e.g. EBU, EU, WorldDMB, RadioDNS)

Raising consumer awareness is an important role of the Project Office as is working with retailers. Retailers need to understand the benefits of digital radio so that they can in turn sell radios to the consumer ensuring that the consumer makes an informed choice when making purchases. Therefore the Project Office also undertakes holding b2b events and point of sale promotional activities and building relationships with the retailers.

Upcoming marketing campaigns

german Berlin camp

A marketing campaign will run in Berlin during June/July 2013 with public and commercial stations taking part and it will cover 21 video and digital walls across the city.

A marketing campaign from the 10 April 2013 has continued to raise awareness of digital radio in the eastern part of Germany with the slogan ‘Digital Radio – the better way’.

In summary Germany is at the point of no return on digital radio rollout because:

– More and more devices – 250 different models
– 1.000.000 devices sold in 2013
– Digital radio in cars – standard and optional equipment
– Support from government – working groups
– European overall support – initiatives ongoing
– More countries to launch digital radio in Europe

For more information about the work of the German Digital Radio Project Office contact Michael.reichert@swr.de

Michael Reichert
SWR

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