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The Tickle File
short takes on daily media news

From Last Weeks ftm Tickle File

All about the base, er, coverage
tunnels and vision

Supporters of DAB digital radio platform have lobbied long and hard for coverage competitive with FM distribution. Multiplexes offering digital radio - DAB in some countries, DAB+ in others and something altogether different in France - have sprung to life with a variety of radio channels, often changing. And, so, folks have been buying those digital radio receivers, more often for the kitchen, less often for the automobile.

DAB+ receiver sales in Switzerland hit 382 thousand in 2014 bringing the country's total digital radio receiver supply to 1.9 million, reported Zürich-based digital broadcast development consultancy MCDT (February 26), 250 thousand of which are in automobiles. DAB+ signals now cover 99% of the Swiss population, "the world's highest coverage, except for Denmark and the Netherlands." In the Swiss-German speaking region listeners can find about 60 DAB+ radio channels.

"Compared to FM and internet radio, DAB+ is democratic, economical and environmentally friendly," said MCDT, which has strong ties to Swiss public broadcaster SSR-SRG, a major financial supporter of DAB/DAB+ development. Swiss media regulator BAKOM recently indicated transition from FM to DAB+ platforms will take place around 2024. (See more about digital radio here)

Moving more quickly to digital radio transition are the Norwegians, all but local radio stations to vacate the FM band in 2017. The coverage requirements set out by broadcast and telecom regulator NKOM have been achieved. "If the other criteria are met, Norway is ready to turn off the FM band, as I see it," said executive director Torstein Olsen, quoted by Telemarksavisa (February 17). "The vast majority now have access to digital radio and it's time to also introduce modern technology for this media as wee did for TV in 2009."

The big sticking point remaining in Norway is, understandably, automobile access. Existing digital multiplexes are focused on urban areas highways, particularly highway tunnels, are dead-DAB spots. "Of course, we had hoped that the development went faster here," said Digital Radio Norge managing director Ole Jørgen Torvmark. "The State highways (department) said the tunnels, which currently have FM (repeaters), will be DAB-ready by 2017."

Young people aren't like old people
what to do?

German audience research institute released this week top line data on radio listening for the second half 2014. After a week's pause, the details will follow. Until then German broadcasters and certainly media buyers will feast on a significantly leaner market. Radio's daily reach fell by about a million listeners.

Among listeners most coveted by media buyers - 14 to 49 year olds - time spent listening Monday through Friday dropped by 11 minutes compared with the previous survey. Those under 29 years spent 15 minutes less with radio stations, 2 hours 6 minutes, compared with 30 to 50 year olds listening 3 hours 42 minutes. It's a pattern seen across Europe. (See more about radio audience here)

Young people typically resist just about every life pattern established by, well, older people. Forging their own way is, therefore, their way. None of this is new. Plato complained about it once upon a time.

Following the Radio MA 2015 I audience estimates detail by a week will be a new survey of internet listening, presumably where young people will be found.

News channel gets needed cash injection
"no comment"

Egyptian telecom billionaire Naguib Sawiris has acquired a majority stake in TV news company Euronews, first reported by Le Figaro (February 25). Euronews was formed in 1992 by a group of European public broadcasters, organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and funded in part by the European Commission (EC) to compete with CNN. Over these two decades Euronews, based in Lyon, has been through several changes in shareholding. Last year CEO Michael Peters enlisted investment bank Lazard to identify possible new investors.

Mr. Sawiris, founder of Orascom Telecom and investor in a variety of enterprises, is acquiring a 53% stake in Euronews for €35 million. Public statements, widely reported, indicate the European Commission has given its blessing so long as "European public interest is preserved" and editorial separation maintained. Ubiquitous in European hotel rooms, Euronews is best known, arguably, for its "No Comment" video segment. (See more about TV news here)

The standing of legacy shareholders is unclear. French public TV broadcaster France Televisions has been the largest stakeholder with 23% followed by Italian public broadcaster RAI (21%), Russian State broadcaster VGTRK (17%), Turkish public broadcaster TRT (15%) and Swiss public broadcaster SSR-SRG (9.9%). Neither the BBC nor German public broadcasting have participated. Ukraine's State broadcaster NTU walked away from its 1% stake in Euronews in January, reported Telekritika, for lack of ready cash as shareholders were asked to cover a €17 million short-fall.

Previous weeks complete Tickle File

Week of March 2 2015

In Sports & Media

TV Sports Defies Gravity, Heat And Friction
balloon The transcendent advantage of live events, and competition for them, has the complete and full attention of television broadcasters. This means, for most broadcasters, sports. Acquiring rights to the biggest events is evermore costly as is the expense of maximising every produced second. The thrill of the unexpected, surprising and even shocking attract huge audiences to live sports, perhaps more than victories and defeats. It is a television broadcaster's major prize.

Encore Une Fois - This Week Last Year in Big Business

Old Dogs Don’t Need New Tricks, Young Ones Do
dog and laptop Video portal YouTube just had an anniversary. The undisputed global market leader is nine-years old, almost qualifying as an old dog in the media-tech world. What YouTube did for the web, it’s now doing for television. Competitors would like to breath the same air.


Encore Une Fois - This Week Last Year in The Numbers

Shuffling The News And Changing The Channel
those deck chairs The news is the news is turning. Privately-owned broadcasters are challenging public radio channels known for news and information. Public broadcasters – and the politicians who run them – are reading the ratings and do not like what they see. But changes are just so negotiable.


new ftm Knowledge

The Curtain Falls - Media Rises – new

This updated set of essays focuses on the dramatic changes in Europe's media that began with the fall of the Berlin Wall and Iron Curtain thereafter; Germany in 1989, new media rules,transition of State broadcasting to public broadcasting, refocus for international broadcasting, the rise of commercial broadcasting and the importance of youth culture. PDF (December 2014)

Order here

Media in the Baltics - New World Order

By the time Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined the European Union they were known as the Baltic Tigers. The media sector grew spectacularly with big multi-nationals investing. Times have changed. This ftm Knowledge file reports the changes, new opportunities and lingering ghosts. 63 pages PDF (October 2014)

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The Privacy Issue

The privacy issue touches every aspect of media. From consumer protection and the rights of individuals to news coverage privacy is hotly debated. New media and old media stumble and the courts decide. ftm offers views from every side of the Privacy Issue. 68 pages. PDF (July 2014)

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Friday February 27, 2015
radio in Italy, Eurisko GfK Radiomonitor, radio audience, radio advertising, RTL 102.5, RDS, Radio 105, Radio 24, RAI, radio in Germany, AG.MA, radio in Switzerland, digital radio, radio reception, radio in Norway, digital transition, NKOM

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