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ftm Radio Page - week ending March 24, 2017

Digital transition benefits some more than others
"a plus for the bottom line"

Details are coming in, albeit very preliminary, of a noticable drop-off in radio listening since Norway began dumping FM radio broadcasting. National radio channels in Norway began transitioning from FM to DAB+ in January after a landmark decision starting with the Nordland region. Overall Nordland radio listening levels in February fell to 64% from 74% one year on, according to TNS Kantar audience estimates, reported by media portal radionytt.no (March 13). National radio channels in Norway will leave FM distribution by the end of the year while local and regional stations won’t begin switching over until 2021.

A separate public opinion survey conducted by Respons Analyse for the up-coming Nordiske Mediedager (Nordic Media Festival) showed 31% of Norwegians positively disposed toward the digital radio transition against 55% negative. “It's hard to get a lot of enthusiasm for a change that people do not perceive as a major advance,” said researcher Frank Aarebrot. “DAB probably means more for those who send radio than those receiving radio.” (See more about digital radio here)

Radio broadcasters throughout Europe (and elsewhere) are paying close attention to the Norwegian experience with digital radio transition. Some are thrilled with the prospects. Some are not. Many are holding their collective breath as national regulators move cautiously toward analogue radio switch-off.

Even presuming lower listening levels result in a drop in advertising rates, offered Austrian national radio channel Kronehit program director Rüdiger Landgraf, quoted by Der Standard (March 23), FM switch-off “could still provide a plus for the bottom line.” FM transmission costs a lot more than DAB+. Austrian media regulator KommAustria has no plan for a “hard exit” from FM broadcasting.

 


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