Thursday 2 June 2016

The Illusions of the DAB Radio World Are Worrying

The credibility of the European public broadcasting at risk
During two decades there has been heavy lobbying for the DAB technology created for and by the public broadcasting sector. But is there any market for DAB when the world goes on-line? Are the politicians presented with a distorted picture of an outdated technology? Is the credibility of the public broadcasting sector at risk?
These are some of the questions asked in a critical memorandum The Illusions of The DAB Radio World today released by the Public Service Council (PSR) in Sweden. 

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the closely connected lobbying organization WorldDAB are organizations with ample financial resources. Promoters of other technologies such as DRM, HD Radio or DVB-T2 are not organized and financed on this level. PSR shows in this memo how the DAB lobby misleads by showing exaggerated DAB establishment on biased graphic maps of the world and of Europe.

PSR finds it strange that the DAB lobby never presents market research reports or comparative technical and economical assessments regarding different transmission platforms for digital radio. Such information has yet to be made public by the mostly funded EBU, WorldDAB and public service broadcasters. PSR also points to the fact that the DAB lobby has never published a true map of DAB radio listening take-up. That would represent  the most honest picture of the real penetration for DAB. Do consumers really want DAB radio?

PSR forecasts that analog FM will be retained for a few more decades and over time be mostly replaced by on-line radio and music listening. Terrestrial digital radio, be it DAB or other systems, will develop further but only as a supplemental service to FM and Internet.

PSR recommends political decision makers to think twice before being coaxed into deciding on a transition to the DAB technology. They should seek advice from independent economic and technical experts, who are not connected to the EBU, WorldDAB and similar lobbying interests.

How much money will such a deadbeat prestige project cost the European taxpayers and license fee payers, asks Gunnar Bergvall, Chairman of the Public Service Council. Do the listeners, consumers and citizens really know what is going on? The letters DAB might soon stand for Dead And Buried says PSR. Few will suffer but the European public service broadcasting sector risks losing credibility by a DAB radio fiasco. 

Subsequently PSR will publish a memo regarding how the DAB lobby is making its way on national levels.

Download the Memo (including biased maps)
The Illusions of the DAB Radio World

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