Updated: September 22nd
THE CLAIM: "The use [
of DAB+] is declining in the UK"
Auch für ORF-Radiochefin Monika Eigensperger ist DAB+ klar eine "Übergangstechnologie": "Nirgendwo in Europa ist es ein durchschlagender Erfolg. In Großbritannien geht die Nutzung zurück..."
- published in 'Horizont'
For ORF Head of Radio Monika Eigensperger too, DAB+ is clearly a "Transition Technology": "Nowhere in Europe is it a resounding success. In Great Britain, the use is declining...")
The claim being made can be interpreted in a number of ways.
1) The use of DAB+ as a transmission standard by broadcasters. This, clearly, is not declining. A couple of years ago, NO services were being transmitted in the UK using DAB+. Today there are close to a hundred services, distributed, variously, via national and local ensembles and via trial minimuxes. Two of the trial minimuxes transmit exclusively DAB+, others nearly so. Of the services that have migrated from DAB to DAB+, apart from a couple of instances that were trials from the outset, none has migrated back again.
2) The use of DAB+ as a transmission standard by listeners. It is unlikely this is what was meant, but for the sake of argument, the number of DAB+ receivers in use is increasing all the time. ALL tick-boxed radios MUST be able to receive DAB+. According to Digital Radio UK, 90% of new cars have DAB+ fitted - some 2 million vehicles each year. Also, listeners choose what to listen to by content, not by codec. If listeners are using DAB/DAB+ at all, then DAB+ usage must be rising because more services and more receivers are available. Finally, RAJAR figures do not differentiate between DAB and DAB+, so there are actually no official figures to support this claim, other than by examining the figures for services that are available by no other means.
3) Most likely, because she is speaking in a market where only DAB+ is under consideration, "DAB+" is being used as a collective term for both DAB AND DAB+. However, even by this measure, the claim does not hold up to scrutiny for very long. The use of ANY kind of digital reception - DTT, DAB/DAB+ or online - is rising relative to analogue. According to the official RAJAR figures
, the weekly reach by all digital platforms is currently 61.2%, having been just below 60% in the previous two quarters. DAB/DAB+ reach is currently 47.5%, a higher figure than for the previous two quarters. The figure for DTT reception of radio is slightly lower than two quarters ago, at 14.7%, but not by much. Online listening has risen to just under 20%, but this increase has clearly not been at the expense of DAB/DAB+, since that too has risen.
THE VERDICT: False
By any of these measures, the claim is false.
Wohnort approached both audience-measuring body RAJAR and various members of the DAB/DAB+ industry in the UK. None supported the claim.
Ford Ennals - Digital Radio UK:
"We only started to launch DAB+ stations last year and now we have over 50 and that number will only grow."
Glyn Jones - Arqiva:
"We were ahead of the rest of the world with DAB digital radio – and listening levels continue to grow well. The breakthrough in digital car radios being fitted as standard is the big step forward in the past few years. Total digital radio listening is growing well towards the 50% target the government has set, and at that point there’ll be a review of how switchover will be handled in the UK."
Matt Deegan - MuxCo:
"The Head of the Austrian broadcaster is wrong. DAB in the UK sees strong growth quarter on quarter, year on year, and we're on-track for analogue radio to have less than a 50% share in the next few quarters."
Ash Elford - Solent Wireless
"In the space of 18 months we've seen the UK go from zero to nearly 100 DAB+ services. The wider DAB digital radio system has seen DAB receiver ownership and listening at an all time high according to RAJAR figures."
Niocast Digital (via Twitter):
"#FakeNews reaches the world of #digitalradio"
"Monika Eigensperger of ORF claims that the use of DAB is declining in the UK. That is simply untrue."
Monika Eigensperger claimed additionally that DAB/DAB+ has not been a success ANYWHERE in Europe. The term "success" is a highly subjective one and depends totally upon the expectations of the person making the assessment. If, let's say, you expected listeners to go out and buy receivers BEFORE you would begin broadcasting ANY services, it might sound a little rich claiming to be disappointed if, as in Austria, where the ORF has NO services on DAB/DAB+, it appears that as many as
4% of listeners have already bought DAB/DAB+ radios.
To borrow an analogy seen in Radioforum: if you don't offer any food in your restaurant, you shouldn't be surprised if nobody books a table.
It is worth pointing out that in Norway, where switch-over is already underway, 64% of Norwegians are listening to radio now, compared with 67.1% a year ago before the switch-over began. This is a smaller reduction than was expected to take place during the switch-over period. [Source: Kantar TNS]
Additionally, what is notable about the rapid increase in the use by UK broadcasters of DAB+, as opposed to "original-flavour" DAB, is that it has been broadcaster-driven. There is no officially-mandated or recommended process underway. Broadcasters have themselves opted to use the more efficient codec.
And all of that is before we even start to consider Monika Eigensperger's neighbouring country - within easy, fact-finding reach - Switzerland
Frau Direktorin Eigensperger hat sich auf den Rückgang der wöchentlichen Reichweite von 44,8 auf 44,6% zwischen Q2 16 und Q1 17 bezogen. Die Zahlen des Q2 17, die tatsächlich wieder einen Anstieg aufweisen, sind ihr leider nicht vorgelegen.
Die grundsätzliche These, dass DAB nirgendwo in Europa ein durchschlagender Erfolg ist, wird dadurch jedoch trotzdem nicht entkräftet. Denn selbst im DAB-Vorzeigeland Großbritannien ist der DAB-Anteil an der gesamten Radionutzung, 22 Jahre nach dessen Einführung, noch immer weit entfernt von den ursprünglich angestrebten 50%.
Speziell bei jüngeren Zielgruppen ist jedoch in allen Märkten ein starkes Wachstum des Internet-Streamings zu beobachten. Mit der Entwicklung der "Smart Speaker" ist zusätzlich eine neue Technologie am Markt, die Potenzial hat, den Audiokonsum nachhaltig zu verändern. Aus diesen Gründen ist Frau Direktorin Eigensperger der Meinung, dass DAB nur eine Übergangstechnologie darstellt.
Referent Radiodirektion | HD
Frau Direktorin Eigensperger was referring to a decline in the weekly reach from 44.8 to 44.6% between Q2 16 and Q1 17. The figures of the Q2 17 [Wohnort: published by RAJAR August 3rd], which actually show a rise, had unfortunately not been presented to her. [Wohnort: the Medientage event was September 20th]
The fundamental thesis that nowhere in Europe is DAB a resounding success is not, however, thereby weakened. The DAB share of total radio consumption, 22 years after its introduction, is still far from the 50% originally targeted, even in the DAB flagship of Great Britain.
Among younger target groups in particular, however, a strong growth in Internet streaming is observed in all markets. With the development of the "Smart Speaker", a new technology is also on the market which has the potential to change audio consumption in the long term. For these reasons, Frau Direktorin Eigensperger is of the opinion that DAB is only a transition technology.
Referent Radiodirektion | HD
Quote of the Day:
"In Great Britain, the use [of DAB+] is declining." (Monika Eigensperger - ORF, cited
in the Austrian newspaper 'Horizont')
Somerset snapshot updated. Addition of 100% Whatever.
Trial Bristol snapshot updated. Angel Vintage relabelled Angel Digital since the previous snapshot.
In Germany, a new service is reported to have popped up on the regional ensemble rbb BRB/BLN K10B. radio1 CB is a local variation for Cottbus of the main programme, which continues to be broadcast on this ensemble.
Berks & N Hants snapshot updated. Sam FM replaces JACK fm Berks.
In Germany, the Block 12A IRT Ensemble in München seems to have reappeared within hours of Wohnort reporting that it had disappeared... again.
On NE Wales W Chesh, the temporary service Last Pirate FM has ceased. On Trial London, the service is still present, but without an audio stream.
A new service has popped up on the Netherlands trial local ensemble DAB Ouder-Amstel. Friday Zone is broadcasting in DAB+ at 96 kbit/s.
In the Netherlands, the regulator has granted the Stichting Locale Omroep Oldebroek permission to operate a local DAB trial from Oldebroek on Block 9C. The regulator has also granted the Stichting Media Platform Voorne-Putten permission to operate a local DAB trial from Spijkenisse on Block 9C.
In the Netherlands, the operator of the local DAB trial DutchDABUitgeest has been granted permission to operate a second Block 9C transmitter at Heerhugowaard.
The operator of Trial Glasgow
that the minimux is currently off air because of a technical fault and that they are "working to rectify this situation as quickly as possible.".
In Germany, the public-service broadcaster NDR has brought a new transmitter into service on Block 11B. Göttingen (Bovenden) extends coverage of the ensemble NDR NDS in the region between Northeim und Friedland, including Göttingen itself, as well as Moringen, Hardegsen, Dransfeld, Rosdorf and Nürten-Hardenberg.
In Germany, the media regulator for Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has issued a Call for Expressions of Interest
from prospective broadcasters, data providers and/or platform operators in DAB+ capacity, whether with Land-wide, regional or local coverage.
Trial Glasgow has now not been seen for over a week and is assumed to have ceased.
The Greek broadcaster ERT reports
that the government is considering "switching directly to a digital radio signal". According to the report, licences are to be auctioned with the competition and the starting price being decided by the Greek National Council for Radio and Television (NCRTV).
Snapshot of the German ensemble DR HESSEN updated. Radio Darmstadt and RheinWelle 92,5 replaced Radio X and Radio Rüsselsheim since the previous snapshot.
Last Pirate FM is also broadcasting on the local ensembles Bournemouth and Norfolk.
In Germany, the Block 12A IRT Ensemble in München has not been logged since the end of August and is assumed to have ceased... again.
In Belgium, test transmissions are being reported on Block 11B. Original reports came from the area of Liège. Since then, posters in a French-language forum
report reception also in Mons and Charleroi. The Ensemble Label suggests transmissions from several sites. Test SFN RNI+
uses a frequency previously assigned to a second layer for the French-speaking region, but there is no suggestion at this stage that any future transmissions would cover the whole of Wallonie. At the time the observations were recorded, fourteen services were on board, three of which appeared to be without audio streams. Attempts to observe the ensemble in nearby cities such as Maastricht have been unsuccessful.
Trial Glasgow has been off air for several days.
Last Pirate FM has popped up on Central Scotland and NE Wales W Ches, broadcasting on both in Mono LSF at 64 kbit/s. Snapshots updated.
A new service has popped up on Trial London. Last Pirate FM is broadcasting in mono "original-flavour" DAB at 64 kbit/s and coincides with the 50th anniversary of the closure of the offshore pirate radio stations in 1967 with broadcasts from various locations in the UK by pirate DJs Emperor Rosko and Tony Prince.
In Serbia, the regulator has announced a consultation
on a draft frequency plan for digital radio broadcasting in the republic. Two layers of regionally-organised coverage are proposed, using, respectively, Blocks 11A to 11D and Blocks 12A to 12D. Closing date for submissions is October 11th 2017.
In Croatia, the regulator has issued a Call for Expressions of Interest
from prospective broadcasters in participating in a DAB+ trial. Closing date for submissions is September 22nd 2017.
Humberside, Leeds, Sheffield, Teesside and Tyne & Wear snapshots updated. The Hits replaces the former "City 3" services.
Bradfrd&Huddersf snapshot updated. Cessation of Pulse Summer.
Snapshot updated of the German ensemble rbb Berlin K7D, formerly labelled DR Berlin rbb 7D.
Stoke & Stafford snapshot updated. Cessation of Signal Summer.
Trial Manchester snapshot updated. The service Timeless Radio is running without an audio stream.
Snapshot of the German ensemble SWR RP updated. SWRinfo has been relabelled SWR Aktuell since the previous snapshot.
In the Netherlands, a new service is reported to have popped up on the local DAB trial in Bentelo. Dance Radio 1 is reported to be broadcasting in DAB+ with 96 kbit/s.
In the Netherlands, a new local DAB trial is reported to have popped up on Block 7B in Kampen with seven DAB+ services on board.
Summer is over. On Bradfrd&Huddersf, Stoke & Stafford and Swansea SW Wales respectively, the services Pulse Summer, Signal Summer and Wave Summer have ceased.
Edinburgh, Inverness and Tayside snapshots updated.
In Germany, the media regulator in Bremen has awarded
capacity to Media Broadcast GmbH for an ensemble to cover Bremen and Bremerhaven and which will be operated as a platform.
In Germany, the media regulator in Saarland has issued a Call for Expressions of Interest
from prospective broadcasters wishing to make use of capacity in Saarland to broadcast local or Land-wide services, services that would be available in more than one Land, or nationally-available services. Prospective broadcasters are asked to state the level of coverage they would seek to achieve and the amount of capacity they would wish to use. Closing date is October 28th.
A new service has popped up on London 2. ADVENTIST RADIO is broadcasting in mono at 80 kbit/s. Snapshot updated.
DAB/DAB+ transmissions have ceased in Hong Kong. The last remaining broadcaster on the ensemble DAB+ Hong Kong, the public-service broadcaster RTHK, ended its participation. At the end, five services were being broadcast, including one in Putonghua and a relay of BBC World Service. Three commercial broadcasters, one of which was unique to the digital platform, also previously broadcast services on the ensemble but retreated in quick succession.
Snapshots of the Netherlands regional ensembles 7A Zuid NL, 8A Randstad NL and 9D Zuidwest NL updated following the licences changes on September 1st.
Two new services have popped up on the Swiss minimux DIG I02. Positive and R.Studio.Star are each broadcasting in DAB+ at 80 kbit/s. The service PHAREFM+ has been relabelled FARO.FM.
Snapshot updated of the Block 11A Belgian ensemble DAB+ VLAANDEREN. Addition of Joe and Qmusic.
In the Netherlands, a new local DAB trial has popped up in Nunspeet on Block 10B. Currently, one service is reported to be on board.
Snapshot updated of the Netherlands regional ensemble 6B Oost-Noord NL. Multiple changes.
On Trial Portsmouth, the placeholder for the former Chris Country SId, Retune (ChCntry), has ceased.
Snapshot updated of the Netherlands local DAB trial operating in Wageningen, BROADCASTSHOP.NL. Since the last snapshot, the service previously labelled IMPACT AM has been relabelled ONE. The EId and SIds used on this ensemble are not TS 101 756 compliant for a Netherlands ensemble nor for Netherlands services.
Snapshot added of the new Block 10B German ensemble operating currently only in Cottbus, rbb BRB/BLN K10B.
Snapshot updated of the Block 11A Belgian ensemble Norkring DAB+, now relabelled DAB+ VLAANDEREN. TOPradio running at lower bitrate.
Glasgow, Lancashire, Liverpool and Manchester snapshots updated.
On local ensembles in the UK, The Hits replaces existing services as follows:-
Edinburgh - Forth 3
Glasgow - Clyde 3
Humberside - Viking 3
Inverness - MFR 3
Lancashire - Rock FM 3
Leeds - Radio Aire 3
Liverpool - Radio City 3
Manchester - Key 3
Sheffield - Hallam 3
Tayside - Tay 3
Teesside - TFM 3
Tyne & Wear - Metro 3 Radio
On the Netherlands Block 11C national ensemble DAB+,
100% NL is running at the higher bitrate of 104 kbit/s.
SLAM! is running at the higher bitrate of 96 kbit/s.
In the Netherlands, new services have appeared on the regional ensemble 6B Oost-Noord NL:-
SIMONE FM GRN
In the Netherlands, new licences come into effect on September 1st, resulting in many changes across the country's ensembles. On the regional ensemble 9D Noord-West NL, the following services have ceased:-
Freez FM PopRock
Wild FM Hitradio
Stories prior to this date are now stored on the DAB Archives pages.