In 2011 a nationwide radio multiplex based on the DAB+ technology was launched in Germany. This multiplex offered commercial broadcasters the unique opportunity of nationwide transmission and marked an important step in terms of the distribution strategy for the three nation wide stations run by Deutschlandradio. During 2012 and 2013 this network was rapidly built and currently 74.4 mio (90.9%, total) Germans are covered by a DAB+ signal. Over 120 national, regional and local programmes were broadcast in Germany and more than 90% of the German population can listen to at least one digital ensemble. By the end of 2013 digital radio was available in all metropolitan areas and 75% of motorways . Digital radio also became available in many rural areas.
Driving the digital radio momentum
2014 sees MEDIA BROADCAST driving the further growth of regional networks with three new transmitter sites being launched from 23 January in Sachsen, Thüringen and Sachsen-Anhalt. Germany’s public service financing committee, the KEF, provided funding which allowed public broadcaster Deutschlandradio, to build out a national digital radio network using DAB+ technology.
Germany provided Europe with momentum to adopt the standard. Their proactive, can-do approach has seen many other markets look to the German radio industry as they look to learn from their approach on issues of marketing to retailers and consumers, availability of receivers, services on air and automotive.
Lessons learnt – Content is key
While the Germans have learnt from other markets to address the issue of network coverage, they have also seen the need to provide tempting DAB+ service offerings to get the listener to tune in. During 2013 a huge variety of programmes were available to German listeners who could choose from either one of the 13 national programmes, or 60 public and more than 35 commercial regional programmes are available. Click here to view the presentation given by Thomas Wächter of Media Broadcast on launching the digital radio network in Germany. The presentation was given during the DAB+ Workshop in Budapest, Hungary on 28 January 2014.
Receiver market penetration goes from strength to strength
Listeners were able to tune into these services via a wide variety of receivers in all shapes and sizes that are available at both low and high entry price points. Over 300 DAB+ receiver models were available on the German market by the end of 2013.
What was of significant note in the German market were the statistics on receiver sales. At the end of 2013 receiver sales to date stood at 2.7 million according to data released by TNS Infra Test.It was expected that in 2013 only 650,000 sales will be made. To help coordinate and drive the marketing and rollout of DAB+ a marketing initiative “Digitalradio Deutschland” was formed. This group was set up in cooperation with the ARD, Deutschlandradio, Digitalradio Deutschland GmbH (national commercial radios) and Media Broadcast. The Initiative Digitalradio Deutschland throughout 2013 worked to foster the evolution of digital radio in Germany with its main efforts being concentrated on coordination and linking all marketing activities of its partners to achieve the maximum impact of these activities. To support the work of Initiative Digitalradio Deutschland, five working groups were created to guide key areas of work such as network expansion, products, marketing and advertising, traffic and travel and automotive.
Spread the digital radio message
During 2013 a cross media marketing campaign was undertaken by broadcasters, manufacturers and retailers. The campaign was launched not only to inform consumers of the advantages of buying a digital radio but also to inform retail staff working in high street shops. View further information on the German digital radio campaign overseen by the German Digitalradio Initiative.