Eugenio La Teana, Head of Research & Development, RTL 102.5 Hit Radio
The state of radio in Italy is very positive. Listening figures are increasing as people enjoy radio in different ways, even more so in this digital age with listening figures growing to 35 million*.
Everyone listens to radio whether it is directly through their own device or indirectly in a public space. In this new age of streaming, radio is still king. Though streaming is rapidly growing in popularity, listeners are streaming music alongside, rather than instead of radio. Research in 2015 by Spotify and TNS found that Spotify users are active radio listeners but light TV watchers.
Creating new revenue streams through DAB+
Broadcasters in Italy support the development of DAB+. DAB+ is simple to access, free to air and creates new revenue opportunities. This is an attractive proposal for commercial broadcasters, and with DAB+ outdoor coverage currently at 70%, and plans to extend to 90% by 2017, this is also good for advertisers. DAB+ is an opportunity for broadcasters to provide listeners more services, content and choice.
In Italy, radio broadcasting is provided by 3 national and 6 local network operators providing 136 DAB+ services (simulcast/exclusive) throughout the country. Promotion of DAB+ has been continuous since 2013, with marketing activities coordinated by the cross-industry body – Digitalradio.it.
Driving DAB+ forward
The car continues to be the most popular place to listen to radio, and for this reason, a focus has been placed on ensuring that roads and tunnels have sufficient signal coverage. Currently, over 5,000 km of motorway is covered and more than 60 new car models now come with DAB+ as standard. Support for the aftermarket through online and in-store education will ensure that drivers are aware of the easier options available to them to install or adapt their existing music system to DAB+.
DAB+ for the future
For DAB+ to grow it must continue to be supported by broadcasters and there must be demand from listeners. DAB+ must continue to evolve, providing an enhanced experience for the user that goes beyond the current services provided by analogue. Radio listening is becoming a hybrid experience as listeners access radio through multiple platforms and devices. Radio receiver manufacturers are working to supply this experience so streaming, online and digital listening and can be experienced on one device. This, I believe is the future of radio.
For more information on the growth of DAB+ in Italy visit www.digitalradio.it
*Eurisko radio monitor 1° sem 2015