Sunday 2 April 2017

Continued Slanted News About DAB Developments

Lobby organisation is trolling on the net according to think tank.
WorldDAB has published the latest version of its infographic featuring DAB receiver sales, coverage and household penetration for markets in Europe and Asia Pacific up to the end of 2016. TheWorldDAB presentations have a catchy layout and look reliable. But the Swedish think tank Public Service Council (PSR) warns readers to beware as crucial facts are often omitted. A total of 50 million units sold should also be presented with a consideration that it is long way to go before DAB+ will come even close to the figures for the two major global radio listening platforms. There are an estimated 6 billions of FM receivers in the world and 2,5 billions of smartphones.

One of the key takeaways from the infographic is that "over 53 million receivers have been sold worldwide". This appears to be an impressive sale for a year or so. However, it stands for cumulative sales since 2008 and in Norway and the UK long before that.

For Norway a country with 5 million inhabitants the total units sold are presented as close to 4 million. But this includes all units sold since 1995 and today some hundred thousands of DAB must be replaced byt DAB+ receivers as the old DAB network is switched off in parallel with the FM switch-off. Also to be considered that the Norwegians never asked for DAB+. It was forced upon them by the public broadcaster NRK switching off its FM network. There is no real consumer demand on a free market.

In the last year digital radio has continued to go from strength to strength and the increase in receiver sales and listeners shows that the future of radio is digital, said Patrick Hannon, President, at the WorldDAB HQ in London. It is true that there are sizeable amounts of listeners in Denmark, Norway and the UK. But where are the other DAB listeners?

”Population coverage” is not a what indicates a success on the market.  As with most presentations by the WorldDAB the listeners are sometimes mentioned but never counted. Countries like Germany and Netherlands have full DAB+ transmitter coverage but the actual listening is very low, below 10 % on a weekly basis. In most countries you would not even know if any are listening. In France the major broadcasters are not on DAB+ and there is still no listening figures.

"Growth in new cars” should be in perspective that most cars are used. With this follows high installing costs for a DAB in-car radio. There are a total of approx. 300 Million commercial and passenger vehicles in Europe. Few really are equipped with DAB. Today few observers would object the view that the radio future is on-line; in Connected Cars not DAB+

Indeed, there are DAB broadcasting taking place in several European countries but  besides the few core DAB countries it is not "established" but limited to the capital or a few other metro cities. Some transmissions are on a test trial basis going on for years for example in Madrid and Istanbul or in Eastern Europe.  In Austria the public broadcaster is not keen to go DAB and in Poland as the commercial operators reject DAB the public broadcaster is in doubt to continue with DAB because of few listeners. Even Sweden which last year rejected the proposal to replace FM with DAB has DAB test trials since 1995.

WorldDAB implies that DAB is a ”worldwide” project. But besides Australia DAB has not been established outside Europe. DAB will not meet requirements to provide complete and inexpensive coverage in populous and vast countries like India, Brazil and Russia. China, Japan and the US are choosing their own digital standard rather than DAB. 

According to PSR out of the world’s 220 countries DAB/DAB+ is an established radio platform in less than ten (10) countries. Several countries have also tried and abandoned DAB.  But such news will not be published by a lobby organisation.

WorldDAB is an organisation with its head office in London but it is registred on the same address as the EBU in Geneva.  WorldDAB is the most common source used for facts about "DAB" radio on Wikipedia pages in various languages.

Trolling the news = news presentation mixing true facts with lies (”alternative facts”).

View the WorldDAB Infographics

Also read
The Illusions of the DAB Radio World Are Worrying