The HD Digital Radio Alliance yesterday marked three successful years and announced that on January 1st, 2009, Peter Ferrara will assume a new role as Strategic Advisor as Diane Warren becomes president of the Alliance.
“When we began putting the pieces in place for the Alliance in the fall of 2005, there was little attention being paid to HD Radio and the industry lacked a plan to make it a reality. There were only a few HD stations on the air, no automakers offered an HD Radio and no national retailers carried receivers,” said Ferrara. “Today, it is gratifying to know how far we’ve come in three short years. While there is still much to do, this has been an unprecedented effort with unparalleled success within the radio industry. It’s a testament to what broadcasters can achieve when the industry comes together with a clear purpose and mission.”
At the Alliance’s official launch in early December 2005, about 300 HD Radio stations were on the air, with 40 of those offering HD2 multicasts. Only one HD Radio receiver was commercially available, and it cost $500.
Today there are now more than 1750 HD Radio stations on the air, with more than 800 offering HD2 and/or HD3 multicasts. There are more than 60 SKUs for HD Radio receivers and they are available at more than 12,000 retail outlets. National retailers carrying HD Radio receivers include Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and Apple Stores. Automakers offering HD Radio features as factory or dealer options span 14 brands across 82 models, including Ford, Lincoln/Mercury, Volvo, BMW, MINI USA, Mercedes, Toyota Scion, Hyundai Genesis, and Jaguar. And price points now invite the mass market, with multiple receivers now available for less than $100, and one receiver even available at $49 with rebate.
In addition, HD Radio content is moving to include iTunes Tagging; data services such as real-time traffic and location-based services are coming to market; and niche content already available on HD2 and HD3 channels will soon be complemented by premium content available on a receiver-by-receiver basis.
The Alliance this year also expanded its original focus to also embrace converting substantial consumer interest into purchasing demand. In addition to amending its radio ad campaign, the Alliance expanded the role of its HDRadio.com website and launched a direct-to-consumer mobile text marketing campaign.
“The response to our consumer marketing has significantly exceeded our expectations,” said Warren. “The broadcasters remain committed to the strong radio advertising campaign, HDRadio.com is the destination for consumer information and even after three years, 80% of our visitors are new to HDRadio.com each month. We’ve seen success driving consumers to HDRadio.com with our auto show, on-line, outdoor, newspaper and mobile text marketing too.”