Sunday 13 August 2017

Next Month DAB Radio in Hong Kong is All Gone

A digital terrestrial radio project became a seven year fiasco.
Public broadcaster RTHK will formally pull the plug on final digital radio services on September 3. Its analogue FM radio service will remain. The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau said in a press release However, the retreat of the three commercial DAB operators in a short period of time due to difficulties in their operation and the lack of a critical mass of audience demonstrated the exhaustion of interest in the services.

In 2011 the government granted DAB+ licenses to three commercial operators and five public service channels.  As earlier reported in March this year, the government decided that all DAB services would be finally axed within six months, after considering a review of the failed policy. The government review also said that the rapid development of the internet and mobile applications have replaced traditional audio broadcasting services to an extent.
Former DBC chief executive Stephen Loh had said that the government failed to help drivers to install digital radio in their vehicles. He also said tunnels, public housing estates and MTR trains were not entirely covered by the digital radio signal. The poor coverage meant that broadcasters struggled to compete.Although it is difficult to apply for a government licence to officially operate a radio station, there have been more than a dozen online radio channels launched in Hong Kong. Licences are not required to operate an online station. “The wider environment is not conducive to a revival of the DAB market,”the press release said.

The DAB system has a continuous uphill battle in trying to get a foothold in Asia. But India and Pakistan will go for DRM. Earlier DAB broadcasting has ceased in Taiwan and Singapore. China has also developed a system of its own; CDR (which is similar to DRM). But in all countries online (and FM) radio in smartphones are increasingly the dominant listening platform.

Read the full story in Hong Kong Free Press

Also read 

DAB Broadcasting Gets the Axe in Hong Kong
Hongkong DAB Broadcaster Can't Compete With FM - Signs Off