DAB Stakeholders Meet in Vienna

Reps from Germany, France, Norway, United Kingdom and Slovakia were joined by the European Commission to discuss the future of digital radio and the adoption of DAB across key markets at the WorldDAB General Assembly
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VIENNA �More than 200 government ministers, broadcasters, regulators and technology vendors met in Vienna Nov. 10 for the WorldDAB General Assembly.�

Political and regulatory representatives from Germany, France, Norway, United Kingdom and Slovakia were joined by the European Commission to discuss the future of digital radio and the adoption of DAB across key markets.� �DAB continues to go from strength to strength and today we�ve heard very clearly about government commitment at the individual country level,� said WorldDAB�PresidentPatrick Hannon. �A growing body of voices is now calling for more active support from the European Commission, promoting the case that radio receivers should be required to have both FM and digital capability. Such a move would benefit both new and developed digital radio markets.�

Graham Dixon, head of radio at the European Broadcasting Union, outlined the European line: �Radio is an incredibly successful medium across Europe.�But FM is like a prison, it prevents the development of the media genre radio.�The frequencies are occupied, there are no new ideas, no new programs.�The three main advantages of DAB +, on the other hand, enable a market-friendly environment: more diversity, more services, moreinnovation.�If we do not move forward, we go backwards.�In a new, more complex and difficult world, the society needs absolutely reliable broadcasting.� DAB + is like a semi-finished highway construction site.�Now it is time to build the roads all over Europe,� as quoted ininfosat.de.�

The general assembly used the theme of �New content �New markets� and focused on the new audiences and revenue opportunities being delivered by digital radio. Speakers included Absolute Radio in the UK, a broadcaster that has doubled its audiences via digital radio; the newly created Dutch radio group Newco; and, Wireless Group (recently acquired by News Corp), both of which have DAB+ firmly at the core of their digital strategy.� Representing local radio was Angel Radio, a station that has been able to join the migration to digital in the UK thanks to the small-scale DAB, recently specified by the UK OFCOM.�

Other sessions featured updates from developed markets on the path towards digital switchover; emerging markets on DAB progress to date;� and, industry analysts on automotive adoption and receiver sales around the world.� Recently released statistics show that DAB adoption in the car continues to rise, with almost all car manufacturers now offering DAB radio either as standard equipment or as an option. As the first countries start to switch off their FM signals, it will be increasingly important for car makers to ensure that all vehicles are sold with DAB radios as standard equipment.

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