With over 400 radio stations available across the country, and over half of the country’s seven million inhabitants listening to the radio on a daily basis, it’s safe to say that Serbia’s radio listening habits are on par with the rest of Europe.
In October 2018, a trial regional DAB+ multiplex covering around three million people went on air in the Avala Mountain near Belgrade – covering approximately half of the population of Serbia with DAB+ services.
Now, Serbian TV & radio network provider and DAB+ multiplex operator, ETV, has confirmed that it will soon expand the ongoing trial DAB+ network in Serbia.
There are currently 6 DAB+ transmitters in operation, reaching population coverage of almost 78%. This year, ETV plans to extend coverage to all highways with the deployment of an additional three transmitting sites.
Current DAB+ network coverage in Serbia
At the moment, there is one national multiplex broadcasting three Radio Belgrade programmes, and ETV have confirmed that in the next month the number of services will be increased to seven, including four radio programmes by national commercial radio stations.
Serbia, however, is not the only country in Eastern Europe looking to implement DAB+ and establish a digital future for its radio industry, as there has been increased interest in deploying DAB+ across the Central and Eastern European region.
Slovenia and Austria launched national DAB+ services in 2016 and 2019 respectively, while DAB+ coverage in Czech Republic and Croatia currently stands at over 85% and 70% respectively. In Ukraine, DAB+ services are available in the capital Kiev, while neighbouring Poland is set to start a three-phase expansion plan which will see over 81% of its population covered by DAB+ services by October 2022.
The growth of DAB in Eastern Europe is encouraged by the EECC Directive, which will require all new car radios in the EU to be capable of receiving digital terrestrial radio by the end of 2020.
A further important development in Europe is the introduction of regulation requiring consumer receivers to include DAB+. Such laws are coming into force in Italy, France and Germany this year, with more countries expected to follow suit in 2020 and beyond.
For most countries adopting DAB+, one of the key drivers to deploying DAB+ is the fact that FM spectrum is full. DAB+, on the other hand, enables broadcasters to offer listeners greater choice, clearer sound, enhanced graphics and lower distribution costs.