Radio Plays Important Role in Media Landscape of Switzerland

Radio ranks second behind the internet as most important form of media August 29, 2017

BIEL, SWITZERLAND—In Switzerland, 57 percent of radio broadcasts are now consumed in digital form. At the end of June 2017, 3.25 million DAB+ devices were in circulation, many more new vehicles are being equipped and the level of awareness of DAB+ shows a positive trend, according to the Swiss Office of Communications (OFCOM). 

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In the spring of 2017, for every 100 minutes of radio air time consumed per day, Swiss citizens listened to an average of 57 minutes via DAB+ or the internet. Digital radio has increased by 8 percentage points in 18 months—from 49 percent in autumn 2015 to 57 percent in spring 2017.

Over-the-air DAB+ is currently at 32 percent and has gained 9 percentage points since autumn 2015. At the same time, FM usage fell by 8 percentage points, down from 51 percent to 43 percent. These figures were published by the Digital Migration Working Group (DigiMig) on Aug. 24, according to the same article. 

Awareness of DAB+ has also increased: Whereas in the autumn of 2016 approximately 25 percent of those questioned on behalf of OFCOM were aware of this digital radio broadcasting technology, six months later the figure had risen to 33 percent.

3.25 million DAB+ radios had been sold in Switzerland as of June of 2017, and the number of FM radios sold continues to fall. This figure also includes approximately 750,000 vehicles with DAB+ reception—a number which has almost doubled within a year. The outfitting of new vehicles with DAB+ devices has also made considerable progress: Today DAB+ is offered in approximately two-thirds of all new vehicles without a surcharge, according to OFCOM. 

From 2020 onwards the Swiss radio industry plans to phase out analog radio broadcasting on FM and to use DAB+ instead as the main broadcasting technology. OFCOM decided to launch an information campaign regarding this upcoming change in February of 2017; since June 2017 a variety of information campaigns have been running on radio, television, the print media and billboards.

According to recent research conducted by Publicom (among 5,000 respondents aged 15 to 79 in the spring) traditional radio has more importance for the Swiss than expected, according to Telecompaper.  Radio ranks second among various types of media—just after the internet. Users assessed how important individual types of media are to them on a scale of one to six (one = not important at all, six = very important). Internet led with 5.1 and the radio receiver followed closely behind at 5.0. OTA television was third with 4.8 points on the scale; print media ended up with 4.4; and was followed by radio (via the internet) with 4.3 points; social media with 4.1 points; and TV on a smartphone or tablet with only 3.7 points.

Respondents also prefer traditional radio; only 5 percent listen to radio exclusively online. Radio advertising was well received in the survey, with acceptance for radio advertising being wider than for ads on TV and smartphones. Only print ads were more popular.

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