Eugenio La Teana, Head of Research and Development RTL 102.5 Hit Radio
For some time, media companies, have been investing in cross multimedia platforms to distribute radio. Network development has made it even more evident the importance of the production of quality content across multiple devices. The fundamental key in reaching people is to spread this content on all networks.
“Let user decide” how to consume the content, it is certainly a very democratic approach, but broadcasters must have the ability to ensure that this content is delivered effectively across all platforms. The Italian radio industry have shown their commitment to this and are investing not only in the development of DAB+ but all technologies. DAB+ is the natural evolution for radio; providing interactivity, without taking away radios natural gifts: “ease of use, without access costs and no limits on distribution and strength.”
Broadcast and broadband are two ways of distributing radio that are not born to compete against themselves, but to reinforce one another. The next challenge for Italy is to effectively distribute on these platforms to listeners ‘on the move.’
In Italy more than 65% of listeners listen to the radio in the car.
This is one of the reasons why the Italian task force for the promotion of digital radio (www.digitalradio.it) has started concentrated efforts on covering most of the country with robust outdoor reception.
Today 67% of the population can receive DAB+ and 92% of highways are covered in digital quality.
In addition to coverage, broadcasters have engaged in marketing campaigns to communicate the benefits of listening to radio in your car digitally. Over the last three years, private national radio stations have planned spot campaigns with a common message. In these campaigns they explain the value of digital and prompt listeners to remember these benefits when buying a new car or upgrading their current entertainment system.
The task force is also committed to formulating good relations with car manufacturers. Informing them of developments about digital radio in Italy, across Europe and initiatives that have been employed to make digital conversion (aftermarket devices) easier for the driver. Subsequently, manufacturers are beginning to promote their vehicles with DAB+ as a key feature on the dashboard.
What are the reasons for buying a digital receiver for your car?
Not only is there a focus on better sound quality being one of the main advantages with digital listening, drivers also have access to more choice. Italy now boasts 30% more new content on digital than on FM. There are also a number of services which it is only possible to receive on digital radio, some of which have the highest potential synergy with broadband technology.
On this point, however, there is a but! There has to be a joint effort between receiver manufacturers and broadcasters, digital radio can be much more “sexy” than it is already only if the receivers exploit the full potential that technology offers!
It is important that the user interface of all receivers, including in-car, continues to evolve with easy to use functionality to support the driver and avoid any potential distractions. This includes addition features such as; pause function, additional metadata, pictures, additional information and interactivity. But the receiver has to enable these possibilities with simple function keys.
These objectives lay the foundations for collaborations between OEMS, broadcasters and the automotive industry to explore the exciting the future for digital radio in cars.
For more information on digital radio initiatives for the automotive industry in Italy, visit www.digitalradio.it