The last four months have been a busy period for WorldDMB, its members and associates – and I’m glad to report good progress in several areas.
At the forefront, Norway continues to make strong progress towards its Digital Switchover targets. By the end of 2014, the aim is to have 50% of daily listeners accessing radio via a digital platform. Twelve months ago (Q1 2013), the figure was 34%; by the first quarter of 2014, this had risen to 45%. In the UK, Government minister Ed Vaizey has confirmed that the future of radio is digital. As a next step in this direction, the UK’s Digital Tick Mark scheme has just been launched. Its aim is to assure consumers that digital receivers are “future-ready”. Watch a short commentary from Ed. In the Netherlands, a major promotional campaign (“Let’s Get Digital”), backed by public and private broadcasters and the Ministry for Economic Affairs, has just been launched. This has attracted attention both in the Netherlands and internationally. Watch this engaging video. In Germany, against a background of growing digital receiver sales (up 44% year on year in Q1 2014), funding body KEF has asked the ARD to prepare long term plans for its vision of broadcast radio. These plans will have great significance not only for Germany but also for the rest of Europe. For WorldDMB and the Project Office, there have been three important areas of focus.
New territories: Since January, we have held workshops and spoken at conferences in France, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Ireland, Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia and South Africa. We have also spoken at international events in Geneva, Kuala Lumpur, Amsterdam and Sri Lanka. In London and Norway we have welcomed visitors from Thailand and South Korea. I would like to thank all the speakers at these events – your knowledge and experience are critical to ensuring that we deliver credible and persuasive messages.
Digital Switchover (DSO): WorldDMB is placing a major focus on supporting countries looking at DSO scenarios. Our role is to facilitate the exchange of information between markets at different stages of development. In March, we held our second DSO Group meeting in Dublin. This was well attended with participants from the UK, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Poland and the Czech Republic. The next meeting is scheduled for September at IBC. Automotive: We are pushing hard for the widespread inclusion of digital radio in cars. In Europe, countries with DAB / DAB+ now account for 50% of all new car sales (if we include Italy, the figure rises to 60%). It is clear that digital radio in Europe is reaching critical mass. In order to accelerate growth, WorldDMB has formed an automotive taskforce to co-ordinate marketing activities and ensure that collectively members and partners deliver consistent and persuasive messages to vehicle manufacturers and other interested parties. Finally, in addition to WorldDMB’s own activities, we work closely with other groups and associations, in particular, the EBU and the Universal Smartphone Group – both groups sharing our goals of the territorial and platform development of DAB / DAB+. We will continue to ensure that co-operation between these groups remains a high priority. Any members wishing to become more involved in any of the above activities should contact me or Bernie O’Neill at the Project Office. Thank you for your continued efforts in the rollout of digital radio and technology across the world.
Patrick Hannon WorldDMB President