Monday 23 November 2015

Continued Uphill Struggle for DAB Radio In France

Consultation reveals lack of interest among major broadcasters
The media authority CSA has now compiled comments on a consultation regarding the further implementation of digital radio (DAB+) allotments. The Office of Radio (umbrella organization for the four largest private radio groups in France - Lagardère Active stations, NextradioTV, NRJ and RTL Group) continue to express opposition to the deployment of digital radio; there is no workable economic model. The Hollande government also 2012 has stopped Radio France - the public radio - to go DAB - for economic reasons. But organizations of independent broadcasters, including CNRA and SNRL, continue to push for the deployment of DAB+, subject to reservations related to the funding of community radio stations (today 40% of budget funded by the government).

CSA has suggested two digital radio allotments in each “area”— a local allotment and an “extended” allotment.  Most local and regional broadcasters want at least three allotments per area, and as many as four in areas currently underserved by FM radio. Both SIRTI and SNRL have previously expressed opposition to the creation of nation-wide allotments for digital radio, and continued to express that concern in the latest round of consultations. CSA plans an application round for digital radio for more stations to broadcast in 2016. All interested broadcasters are in favor of rapid deployment of DAB, but at the same time expressed concern about the financial capacity of all stakeholders to actually carry it out. 

Since June 2014 there are three DAB+ multiplexes sites in operation in Paris, Nice and Marseilles mostly dedicated to local radio stations and community radio. The total weekly listening on DAB radio in France is estimated to be below 3%.

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