Digital radio catching on Down Under


Australia FlagCommercial Radio Australia, the association for radio broadcasters in the Southern Hemisphere nation, says that 800K digital radios are in the hands of Australian citizens, including 180K sold between October 2011 and January 2012. And CRA says that 1.2M citizens are now tuning into the service at least once weekly.

CRA says the technology is expected to be on hand in 16% of Australian households by December 2013 and in 18% by June 2014.

Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner said: “Digital radio sales and listening have increased despite one of the worst retail climates for decades. The commercial radio industry has invested in the promotion of digital radio and worked very hard with retailers. We’ve put our money where our mouth is and used our medium to tell our listeners about digital radio. Once again, results highlight just how well radio works.”

CRA offered highlights of its new study on digital radio:

* The 1.2M weekly HD listeners represents 9.4% of the total radio audience and is 400K greater than a year prior.

* TSL is up to 12 hours 20 minutes weekly, a gain of eight hours over the first survey result taken in 2009.

* The current household penetration of just under 10% is second only to cable TV among communications media offerings.

Warner concluded, “While the latest market summary information is very pleasing, the overall aim of the industry is to ensure digital radio is available in all areas of Australia. Extensive work is also underway on the planning for digital radio rollout to regional Australia and proposed timelines are being developed for discussions with the Federal Government.”

Nielsen and PWC provided statistical underpinnings to the CRA report.

RBR-TVBR observation: Signal splitting is not without its perils – one of the goals of commercial broadcast is to offer a large audience. We think there is inherent danger in multicasting and in effect competing with yourself and diluting that audience. On the other hand, time is not going to march backwards, so finding ways to embrace digital will be a key to the survival of broadcast radio going forward. The time to experiment and learn is now – with plans to continue experimenting and learning in perpetuity.