by Aris Erdogdu, Communications Manager, WorldDAB
Norway opened the second day of the Radiodays Europe with a presentation titled: ‘Beyond FM – the new normal’. Ole Jorgen Torvmark, who led the team managing Norway’s transition to digital radio, was joined on stage also by Arqiva’s Head of New Technology Simon Mason and Iso Reichsteiner, Project Manager of the DSO process in Switzerland.
With the digital switchover process now complete for approximately 15 months, Torvmark stated that radio listening figures are now back up to the same levels they were before the switch off of the national FM in Norway – with radio’s daily reach now at 67%, compared to 68% before the switch-off in 2016.
Pointing to the findings of the report launched by WorldDAB at Radiodays Europe on the impact of the DSO on the Norwegian radio industry, he highlighted also a growing number of Norwegians are using DAB+ on a daily basis – 86% in 2019, compared to 55% in 2016 – a clear indicator of DAB’s uptake by the public in Norway.
Iso Rechsteiner gave an update on Switzerland’s upcoming digital switchover, explaining that plans are in place for the switchover to be completed no later than 2024. According to the latest figures released by the Swiss Federal Office of Communications (Ofcom) in March 2019, almost two thirds of all radio listening in Switzerland now takes place on digital platforms (DAB+ and internet), with one third exclusively attributable to DAB+. What’s more, over 4 million DAB+ receivers had been sold as of end of 2018.
Cars in Switzerland are also well on track to comply with the new European directive, despite the fact that Switzerland is not part of the EU, and therefore, not required to comply. Indeed, the number of vehicles equipped with DAB+ as standard in 2018 rose to 91% in 2018, compared to 85% the year before.
Norway’s successful transition to digital radio provides lessons learned for all countries looking to make the switch to digital, and the industry will now be keeping a close eye on developments in Switzerland, with an announcement about the DSO process anticipated at this year’s Swiss Radio Days taking place in Zurich on 29 August.