Across Europe, over 33,000 km of 1st level roads are covered by DAB, with 2nd level roads in most countries having an equivalent level of coverage. WorldDMB takes a look at the key digital markets in Europe at their strategies for extending DAB coverage and the activities undertaken to promote the benefits of digital listening to car manufacturers and drivers.
In Norway, over 7,500 km of 1st level roads are covered. There are further plans to improve in-car listening with future coverage of at least 260 tunnels by 2017.
FM switch off in Norway is confirmed for 2017. Currently 66% of new cars on sale are fitted with DAB as standard and 20% of cars on the road have a DAB radio.
To encourage DAB adoption, a promotion team called Radiobiliene visit car dealers and audio retailers to inform and demonstrate DAB in car. Industry funded media campaigns on TV, radio, print and online promote the benefits of in-car listening, also highlighting the choice of adapters and ease of purchase and installation. Drivers can be regularly kept up to date on road coverage through the Digitalradio Norge website.
Latest figures from Switzerland indicate a high adoption of digital radio in the car, with 60% of all new cars coming with DAB+ as standard. Swiss drivers benefit from the highest DAB+ outdoor coverage of any country with 100%, and coverage of all highway tunnels is planned for completion in 2018/2019.
MCDT, the Swiss digital marketing agency, works closely with the automotive industry to provide technical information and support with advertising, events and demonstrations. Through these initiatives, auto manufacturers and car dealers are able to support drivers with practical information on digital radio.
In Germany over 9,700 km of 1st level roads are covered by DAB+. Traffic and travel information is provided by Garmin and Mediamobile using the TPEG standard via the national DAB+ multiplex. In addition, the public service ARD-TPEG-service is broadcast by several regional ARD-multiplexes, fulfilling the European Commission ITS directive requiring European Union member states to provide drivers with free safety related traffic information. Drivers can be kept up to date with the latest developments in DAB+ road coverage at www.digitalradio.de/empfang.
Compared to other European countries, the Netherlands has experienced the fastest roll out of DAB+. Research by JATO Dynamics in May 2015 found that over 16,000 cars (10% of all cars sold) were sold with DAB+ as standard in the first five months of 2015.
On the road, 1st level road coverage reaches 98% and in spring 2015, Minister for Economic Affairs, Henk Kamp, spoke of his commitment to have more cars equipped with digital radio.
A holistic marketing strategy by Digital Radio+ communicates the benefits of DAB+ through the whole retail chain from automotive dealers to suppliers of audio products to the customer. Workshops equip retail staff and car audio installers with information to better serve the customer. Spring/Summer media campaigns have included partnerships with audio manufactures including Philips, Pioneer, Sangean and Sony and retailers Media Markt while on-air advertising highlights the benefits of digital listening.
The current 1st level road coverage in the UK stands at 85%. This year it was confirmed by the Government that in the single biggest expansion of the digital radio network, over 6,700km of roads would be added to local DAB coverage and will be completed in 2016. With the recent announcement that 70% of new cars now come with DAB radio as standard, the UK automotive industry is showing a clear commitment a digital future.
Media campaigns run during the summer and winter promote the benefits of radio to drivers and in store support is provided to help drivers make an informed decision when purchasing a radio for their car. DAB receivers are also recommended to consumers with use of the ‘Digital Radio Certification Mark’ which identifies DAB products and/or in-car installation services that meet the minimum specification through a series of tests.
Latest figures show that over 80% of Italians listen to radio in the car. Combined indoor and outdoor DAB+ coverage of regular and trial broadcasts are estimated to reach 68% of the Italian population. On the road, 4,500km of 1st level roads are covered by DAB+. Delivery of traffic and travel information via DAB+ is provided by two test TPEG networks from Euro DAB Italia and Rai Way.
In June 2015, it was announced that 22.3% of new cars sold in Italy came with DAB+ as standard with aftermarket solutions available online and through major consumer retailers. Marketing campaigns across a variety of media platforms promoting digital listening in cars started in July. Car manufactures are also offering promotional offers on cars with DAB+ receivers in optional models.
The Communications Regulatory Authority, Agcom, released a report which supported the move from analogue to digital as an ‘important opportunity for the industrial and economic development of Italy.’ Details on the developments in road coverage are regularly updated and shared on www.digitalradio.it
For more information on these countries and other territories, visit the country information pages of WorldDMB.