Patrick Hannon, WorldDMB
The last four months have been an important period for the development of digital radio. In 2015, we will look to build on this progress.
Developed markets are continuing to mature and several new and potential markets are taking their first steps:
– Norway has announced that all the criteria for DSO in 2017 have been achieved. A parliamentary decision on timings is expected in Q1 2015.
– Switzerland has laid out its timetable for digital migration – with the first services likely to start switching in 2020 and the whole programme being completed by 2024.
– In the UK, Government remains fully committed to a digital future for radio – and 58% of new cars now come with digital radio as standard.
– In Germany, the ARD has confirmed its belief in the long term future of DAB+; sending a clear message to legislators and regulators – in Germany and the rest of Europe.
– In Poland, Polskie Radio continues the roll-out of its coverage – now reaching 25% of the population.
– In France, following the launch of services in Paris, Nice and Marseille, the CSA (regulator), is due to publish a report on digital radio later this month.
– Similarly, in Italy, announcements from regulator AGCOM about Piedmont, Valle d’Aosta and Umbria are expected before the end of the year.
– In Sweden, the Government Advisor has just published a report recommending DAB+ as the future backbone for radio distribution.
Progress is not limited to Europe. A six month trial in South Africa started last month and WorldDMB and the ASBU held a two day conference in Tunis for the Arab States. Other countries showing significant interest in DAB+ include Turkey, The Czech Republic, Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea.
The challenge for 2015 will be to build on this progress – in particular, we will look to strengthen our international presence and activities. We will continue to share best practice – for example through the Digital Switchover Group (the next meeting of this Group will be at RadioDays Europe in Milan next March) and through workshops and conferences in interested territories around the world. We will also seek to strengthen the international profile of DAB, by encouraging coordinated international marketing activities (e.g. though a single “Digital Radio” logo) – the aim being to present a consistent image to B2B audiences, such as automotive and handset manufacturers, and transnational authorities, such as the European Commission. We have also started discussions about creating an international version of the UK’s Digital Tick – to ensure that industry and consumers have a consistent idea of what to expect from a digital receiver.
These are exciting times for digital radio. The momentum is with us. Once again, I’d like to thank everyone – across our membership and in the Project Office – who is helping us on this journey.
Patrick Hannon WorldDMB President