Jarle Ruud, Marketing, Digitalradio Norway
With more and more new cars including DAB as standard, attention turns to the aftermarket and converting millions of existing cars and their owners to the benefits DAB radio.
56% of people in the EU (including Norway and Switzerland) are now able to receive DAB digital radio and the benefits of in-car coverage are well documented; from improved audio quality to better choice and the ability to broadcast safety messages in tunnels or on bridges.
I chaired the final panel session of the recent WorldDAB Automotive 2016 event which tackled this subject and it’s one that all markets need to address, particularly those with targets from government or regulators for digital radio adoption.
While the majority of manufacturers now offer DAB as standard on many models, when it comes to after-market products there are three key areas that need to be addressed.
The first is to provide a wide range of products that are suitable for all vehicles, and doing so at a price point that is accessible to the mass-market.
To an extent this is driven by the growth in DAB services and stations, if people are listening to DAB at home then it’s natural that they’ll want to get the same stations in the car and on the move. The other side to this is encouraging the rollout of DAB across borders, opening up more markets to OEMs and helping lower prices.
Retailers then must not just stock products, but understand them and be fully trained on their installation. The latter is an important aspect as installing DAB is often more complex than simply replacing the head-unit and consumers need to have a good experience at the first time of asking.
The final aspect links into the first two and that is consumer awareness of the services available, the products on the market and the retailers and installers who can help them. This push needs to come from all sides, the broadcast industry in promoting the latest stations and services and the technology sector in delivering and promoting the right range of products.
This needs to happen at an early stage of the move to DAB, leaving plenty of time for people to switch and helping make the transition a smooth one.
During the session in Brussels it was clear that while excellent progress has been made, there is still a long way to go in terms of both product ranges and consumer awareness. For those who missed out, this short video summarises the points discussed and the lessons we need to take away.