In December last year UK Government Broadcast Minister Ed Vaizey announced a package of measures designed to support continued digital radio growth, and to help us achieve the criteria to confirm a switchover. The announcements included investment in DAB coverage build-out, a new commercial radio DAB multiplex, investment in a new small-scale DAB solution, unprecedented communications support from Government motoring agencies and the introduction of a consumer-facing Digital Radio Tick Mark logo. Digital Radio UK was tasked with launching the tick mark and car manufacturers and aftermarket manufacturers can now apply to use it.
In the UK we now have 55% of new car registrations with DAB as standard, and a broadening range of adapters and head units to convert cars. However, despite good progress, we still have a long way to go and millions of cars to convert to digital. We believe the tick mark will support the further growth we want to see and maintain the momentum in the automotive sector.
Tick mark assures consumers that products are future-ready
For the digital TV switchover, the digital TV tick mark was very successful in providing reassurance and guidance to consumers about the digital TV products they were buying. As part of the UK Digital Radio Action plan, Government, broadcasters and manufacturers spent 3 years developing a minimum specification for DAB radios that, when proved to be met by the manufacturer, would enable the new car or aftermarket product to carry the digital radio tick mark. The minimum specification includes FM, DAB and DAB+ and other important criteria such as receiver sensitivity, traffic announcements and service following. To get the tick mark, car manufacturers and aftermarket manufacturers need to certify that the DAB radio meets the specification and then a licence agreement is signed with DRUK. The tick mark can then be used on the product, websites, in stores or car dealerships, to assure consumers that the products and services they buy are future-ready.
Training and accreditation scheme
With the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the trade association for the vehicle industry, we have developed a training and accreditation scheme for in-car digital radio installers at retailers or car dealers. This is particularly important given the complexity of car dashboards and the number of things that can affect a good installation and consumer experience such as the choice of antenna and its positioning. We have partnered with the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) to launch the scheme, and installers are now starting to undertake training and for the accreditation.
Tick Mark promotion campaign
Later this year, once more products and installers are in the market using the tick mark, DRUK will start to promote the tick mark to consumers. We will be running a heavyweight on-air radio communications campaign, telling consumers to look for the tick mark when getting a digital radio in their car, and we will also be providing leaflets for use in retailers and at dealers. Our campaign will help to build awareness and understanding of the tick mark. Most major European markets are moving to digital radio so we believe that the tick mark minimum specification including FM, DAB and DAB+ provides a common European standard for digital radio. Manufacturers can build to this standard with confidence that the radio is future-ready and will work across borders. There is already interest from other countries who would like to use the tick mark and we welcome and support anyone with a similar interest as there are benefits in a consistent European-wide approach. If you would like to find out more about the tick mark, the minimum specifications and the application process please go to www.getdigitalradio.com/industry or contact firstname.lastname@example.org