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PR works, the future is digital
“nasty surprise”

Norwegians aren’t known for showy display or mincing words. The gush of international media attention following their Culture Ministry’s announcement last week about curtailing FM broadcasting in favor of the DAB digital radio platform brought a few snickers about errors and embellishments. For some DAB is just a joke and in Norway jokes aren’t necessarily a laughing matter.

Supporters of the DAB digital radio platform succeeded in getting the press release to all the right people through a slow-news weekend. Norwegian radio industry news portal (April 21) pointed out a few highlights from “first country to go fully digital” from the Guardian (UK), “the newspaper that generally is positive to the digitization of radio,” to the BBC reporting the global radio industry will be “nervous” about FM switch-off. Another BBC report said the transition to DAB in Norway will encourage other countries to take the same route without mentioning governments in Sweden and Denmark hesitating or, perhaps more significantly, the BBC’s financial involvement in DAB technology. But there they were, from CNN, Forbes, Time, Newsweek, Welt, La Figaro, El Mundo and every technology news portal with remarkably similar language; FM is so last century and digital radio is inevitable, except in the US. (See more about digital radio here)

In truth the Norwegian Parliament will have the last word on FM shut-down and the Culture Ministry’s proposal excludes the country’s 200 local FM stations outside the four biggest cities.

Not all the techie-tribe is enamored. “DAB is just as stupid as WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) once was,” said Google Norway CEO Jan Grønbech, quoted bluntly by Kampanje (April 21). “I am most worried about the end user. If the FM networks are shut, I think they will get a nasty surprise. I fear a lot will not listen to the radio anymore.”

Big gains, big losses; turmoil begets turmoil
more of the same, but different

The Médiamétrie audience estimates for Il-de-France (IDF - Greater Paris) released this week could have only surprised those not paying attention. Events in France from early in January through the end of March, often in or near Paris, quite clearly affected listener behavior as the national survey released the week before showed. Audience share changes year on year were exceptional. (See more about recent French national radio audience here)

News and information channels markedly gained over the same period last year. RTL and France Inter, national channels and standard bearers for news coverage held the top two places in the IDF rankings; RTL to 13.2% audience share from 10.9% one year on and public radio France Inter to 12.0% from 10.8%. RMC moved into 3rd position with 8.1% audience share, up from 6.8%. Europe 1, more talk than news, fell to 7.5% audience share and 4th place from 9.3%. (See Greater Paris audience trend chart here) All-news France Info placed 6th and increased audience share to 4.9% from 4.2%. Paris regional public station FIP took 9th position; 2.6% audience share from 1.9%.

Both hit music channel NRJ and rap channel Skyrock lost audience share. NRJ held 5th position on 5.2% audience share, down from 6.1% year on year. Skyrock remained in 7th place while dropping to 3.6% audience share from 4.1%. On a different side of the musical spectrum Radio Classique dropped to 2.3% audience share and 10th spot from 3.7% and 8th place. Cherie FM slid to 2.0% audience share and out of the top ten from 3.2%.

Radio Latina remained the top rated local station, up slightly to 2.7% audience share and 8th position. In addition to FIP, local stations Radio FG, Voltage and Evasion saw audience share gains.

Overall, audience reach was significantly lower, 75.7% from 78.2% year on year. Aggregate audience share for private commercial national channels and local stations was down to 71.0% from 74.1%. Public broadcaster Radio France, perhaps affected by union industrial action in the final week of the survey period, posted aggregate audience share of 25.2%, up from 22.5%. The April-June period will include three weeks of public radio disruption.

Audience unmoved after digital boost, broadcaster says “unusual”
room to grow

Denmark’s public broadcaster DR added digital platform DAB to its distribution compliment for regional network P4 at the first of March. In audience estimates thereafter, DAB+ listening counted 2%, internet 7% and FM 91%. For all radio listening in Denmark, the digital share - DAB and online - is about 13%.

P4 is a network of 10 regional stations, pop music with national news and local cut-outs. On aggregate the P4 stations reach 55.4% of listeners in Denmark, according to TNS Gallup, and hasn’t changed much in years. DR was an early adopter of DAB distribution, all main channels available plus seven digital-only channels. The Danish government recently pushed-back plans to switch-off FM distribution. (See more about media in Denmark here)

“Usually DR’s DAB channels make up about 65% of all DAB listening, said DR research director Dennis Christensen, quoted by (April 21). Online listening to P4, he said, is “rare” but he expects the DAB share to grow “as much” when P4 listening “becomes more digital.”

Previous weeks complete Tickle File

Week of April 27 2015

In All Things Digital

Brand Building Is A Strategy, Extracting Profits A Tactic
oil rigs Media technology is constantly reshaping. Code-writing geniuses find new tricks to adapt people’s behavior for fun, profit or the attention of investors. Fewer business plans are written for advertising revenue these days, now that media buying is automated. Paywalls - in various forms - are like meters on oil wells.

Encore Une Fois - This Week Last Year in All Things Digital

Myths And Masquerades At Web Conference
sausages The inner workings of the internet bring to mind the proverbial sausage, ingredients best left out of polite conversation for such a delightful end result. Most people just eat and enjoy. Recognizing the internet as the most powerful global distributor of information since the invention of paper frustrates those with a deep need to control what people see, read and hear. A recent meeting on the future of the internet offered food for thought.


Encore Une Fois - This Week Last Year in Write On

War Reporting Not Like The Movies
living dangerously News coverage in conflict zones has always been precarious, war correspondents often celebrated. William Howard Russell’s coverage of the Crimean War in the mid-19th century for the Times (London) was widely followed for its grit and gristle. In every conflict there are stories to tell and legions ready to tell them.


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)

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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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News From You

EPC welcomes the European Commission's Decision to Issue a Statement of Objections to Google - April 15, 2015

BBC World Service launches one minute of global news - April 1, 2015

BLM - Lokalradios in Bayern weiter auf hohem Niveau - March 4, 2015

ITU - World Radio Day broadcast focuses on Youth and Innovation - February 13, 2015


Internews - 5 Reasons to Celebrate World Radio Day - February 12, 2015

VPRT zum Welttag des Radios - February 12, 2015

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