Once DAB infrastructure is established and coverage continues to expand in a territory, how does the digital radio industry encourage digital radio listening growth through retail sales of DAB receivers?
We talk to Digitalradio Norge, MCDT and Digital Radio UK on their relationships with retailers to help them communicate the benefits of digital receivers to the customers.
Joan Warner, Chief Executive Officer, Commercial Radio Australia
Getting major retailers behind digital radio is one of the key drivers of the successful uptake of digital radio. Well before switch on, it is important to communicate with the retail sector about launch plans and marketing to ensure there is product on shelves for consumers to buy.
The early establishment of a Retailer, Broadcaster and Manufacturer Advisory Group creates a forum where marketing, advertising, retail staff training and broadcaster support can be discussed with all stakeholders. Establishing early and ongoing communication with retailers quickly builds awareness and improves the information about digital radio in the marketplace.
Retailers want more customers, low costs and free promotion. The radio industry has a loyal listener base and a highly effective advertising platform. An all of industry approach can provide retailers with free advertising and promotion of digital radio. Digital radio can reinvigorate the audio retail market. It provides retailers with an opportunity to work with broadcasters to tell consumers and listeners about the benefits of the new technology.
Make it as easy as possible for retailers by providing tools a retailer can use;
– Free on air mentions around gift giving times for retailers selling digital radios or supporting a manufacturer promotion
– Awareness campaign to create a buzz around the technology
– An all of industry logo and website for all digital radio information with simple licence agreement for retailers to use
– Free retailer banner ads on industry website
– Retail staff training DVD or questionnaire on the website
– Point of sale material with flexible dimensions for differing retailers
– In-store information sessions for consumers
– New digital radio station information at point of sale to show what you get when you buy a new radio
Other highly successful initiatives include money off vouchers, Shopping Centre Information Kiosks or Listening Booths, where customers can come and try the various models of digital radio before they buy and meet on-air radio presenters. An extension of the on-air talent involvement includes the establishment of Digital Radio On-Air Ambassadors. These are presenters spreading the word on air about digital radio. A word of mouth recommendation that drives consumers into retail stores to buy.
The radio industry is a very powerful platform when it works together and must spearhead an awareness of digital radio on air to create a buzz about the technology that is then followed up in store at the retail level. In Australia a teaser – “digital radio is coming” campaign was followed up with an awareness focus on the benefits of digital radio and then focused campaigns around retail cycles of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas. These campaigns continue to be highly successful in increasing retail sales of digital radio providing a win for retailers, manufacturers and a win for broadcasters.
Listen to brand campaigns promoting digital radio.
Mari Hagerup, Head of Communications, Digitalradio Norge
Norway is approaching a tipping point between digital and analogue radio. The DAB-coverage exceeds FM-coverage and the uptake of digital radio in daily use is constantly growing.
How digital radios find their way into Norwegian households is a subject with multiple answers. Mainly, we need to take a close look at the DSO-criteria set by the government in 2011. Until then digital radios were quite popular, but take up was limited in some areas due to the lack of coverage in rural areas. With national coverage, implying an extreme growth of national channels, digital listening has been stimulated. The national reach of digital radio is now at 22 channels on DAB+ as opposed to 5 channels on FM. One of the most causal factors in people’s DAB-uptake has been the launch of DAB-only stations like NRK P1+.
The launch of a popular, much demanded channel for elderly people caused receiver sales to rocket. Sales executives reported an increase of demand for DAB radios since the week of the station’s launch, continuing throughout the year. Within one week the channel was rated as the number sixth listening channel in the country. The promotion for NRK P1+ was exclusively via television – and there were no additional commercial campaigns.
Joint communication from authorities and broadcasters (including Digitalradio Norge) gives the sales levels assurance that retailers can rely on DAB radios. The retail stores need this assurance in order participate in large-scale promotions. Signal effect, in other words is as important as the direct impact of the public. Retailers have great power over Norwegians choice of electronics products, but they will would not have pushed DAB receivers without any confirmed roll-out activities.
The prevalence of digital radio in Norway needs to be seen as a process promoting content rather than just commercial factors. Digitalradio Norge has a non-commercial role towards the consumer market, as representatives for broadcasters in Norway. To stimulate sales and prepare markets, the key factors have been maintaining personal relationships and dialogue with core personnel in related businesses, supplied by using the power of radio in helping commercial players promote campaigns. The opportunity to make use of advertising on commercial radio-channels has been an attractive deal for retailers and manufacturers.
Recently, a local car-retailer in the heart of Norway ran a radio-campaign promoting sales-events for digital radio in four different towns.The event was supported by a digital radio campaign team, financed and driven by Digitalradio Norge. The event-team, called Radiobilene, was established to educate retailers in both dealerships and electronics outlets. The team were equipped with information folders and car radio adaptor demonstration equipment which allowed them to reach almost every dealership and garage and provide them with relevant information on radio changes and solutions.
News coverage and national campaigns on the development of DAB have been running alongside Governmental initiatives which have helped related industries with their provision of information and creating a general awareness of the digital radio roll-out.
Ernst S. Werder, Managing Partner, MDCT Ltd
Currently, the sales of DAB receivers are not part of Switzerland’s Digital Switchover criteria. However, household penetration is a key factor and with receiver sales over 1.9 million and growing, it is important to continue to support retailers and give them the knowledge and confidence to sell digital receivers to the radio listener.
To give retailers confidence in the advice they give to customers, we regularly provide informative literature including brochures and leaflets on the benefits of listening to radio digitally as well as hosting workshops where we can demonstrate the functionality of the radios currently available in our market. In-store leaflets and posters aimed at the customer provide further reassurance in the products available. In conjunction with these activities, we continue to develop our media campaigns, promoting digital radio through major channels including TV, radio and print advertising.
The www.digitalradio.ch website continuously highlights new products available and there is currently an online promotion in partnership with UK receiver manufacturer Pure, giving away 20 DAB+ portable radios to competition entrants.
But increasing DAB receiver sales cannot be achieved by working with retailers alone, collaboration is key. By working also with broadcasters, manufacturers and importers, we can ensure that the right products are available to customers and at the right price. In March, a significant move towards a digital future was made as representatives from public broadcasters SRG SSR and private radio stations signed an agreement on the migration from analogue to digital. This agreement detailed the responsibilities that will need to be undertaken for the move to DAB+ including the marketing that will need to be coordinated.
For continued growth of digital radio sales, there is a need to continue to raise awareness of the benefits of sound and choice at all stages of the value chain. This confidence will give the customer the confidence to make an informed choice on what radio they will purchase for their home or car.
Jane Ostler, Communications Director, Digital Radio UK
DAB digital radio sales are now mainstream in the UK, having grown to a cumulative total of over 20 million (GfK) and with almost 50% of homes now having a DAB digital radio. Digital portable radios make up over half of digital radio sales, and sales growth is level with last year but the traditional audio home systems sales are now being replaced by Bluetooth speakers. DAB fitting in new cars has grown significantly, with an annual growth of 67% and over 1.4 million cars fitted with DAB in the last year (CAP/SMMT).
The sustained growth of DAB to almost 50% of homes shows that digital radio has been taken up beyond the early adopter audience, driven by the increase in digital-only stations and the expansion of DAB coverage. Sales have been supported by a reduction in entry-level pricing with many of the retailers selling retail own brand models for under £20. Over 60% of new cars now have DAB digital radio fitted as standard, which reflects that drivers want digital radios in their car as well as their homes, and vehicle manufacturers are now sufficiently confident about DAB coverage. Hundreds of new transmitters are being built this year and next: BBC coverage will reach 97% of the population towards the end of this year, and local coverage will increase from 76% to over 90% by the end of 2016.
Digital Radio UK runs an industry wide communications campaign which includes advertising on commercial radio and BBC radio stations. The ads feature the tech expert and Formula 1 presenter Suzi Perry.
We are launching a digital radio tick mark that signifies radios that are future-proof and have been tested and approved to meet the Government minimum receiver standard. Digital Radio UK works closely with domestic and car after-market retailers to support the promotion of digital radios, including the provision of point of sale and consumer leaflets. We also coordinate retailer trade-ins and promotions, which Digital Radio UK promotes in advertising, as well as on air giveaways.
While many homes have DAB digital radios 50% of homes don’t – so there is a big opportunity to increase sales by building household penetration. These customers still do not sufficiently understand the benefits of digital radio and some are concerned about DAB coverage. There is an opportunity for retail staff to explain these benefits and explain the increases in DAB local coverage. Only 10% of cars have DAB digital radio with 30 million cars to be converted. This is a huge opportunity for car after-market retailers to sell affordable easy to fit DAB car adapters.
We work closely with retailers so they can best capture the digital radio sales opportunity by focussing on digital sales. We support retailers and their customers to understand the benefits of digital radio, the digital stations available in the store catchment area and the local coverage position and promote use of the postcode checker at getdigitalradio.com. Retailers should maintain a broad range of portable digital radios from entry-level pricing to Bluetooth and IP enabled digital radios.
In the long-term we will see growth in digital radio sales as DAB coverage is expanded to FM equivalence, and a new national commercial DAB network will be launched in the first half of 2016, with around 15 new digital stations. When the UK Government confirms a future radio switchover, it will accelerate the process of consumers replacing their analogue radios in home and in their cars.