Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Betamax of Radio (in the UK)

A recent article in the Guardian Newspaper in the UK reports on the Brits version of HD Radio. DAB radios have been in the hands of consumers for a bunch of years now and these quotes tell the tale:

"The exodus of stations from the DAB platform is starting to look like a stampede"

"DAB is the Betamax of radio."

"By the end of 2007, it was evident that the 'masterplan' for DAB which the radio industry had clung to since the mid-1990s was simply not going to work."


Read the full story

What happens across the pond isn't necessary indicative of what will happen here. But one has to think, based on how things have gone thus far, the future of HD Radio remains a big question mark. As the belt-tightening increases across our industry, let's be honest, the last place limited resources will be deployed is in an area in which at this point there will be little to no return.

***UPDATE***

From this afternoons Inside Radio Update:

HD Radio sales jump 725% in '07. In what iBiquity terms a "breakthrough year," listeners bought 330,000 HD Radio receivers last year, a jump from 40,000 in 2006. iBiquity released the sales data to the NAB Radio Board during its Winter meeting this week in Washington.

4 comments:

PocketRadio said...

Digital radio is the Betamax of analog radio, with digital's poor coverage, interference, and dropouts. Digital radio is being turned off in Germany and has stalled in Canada. There is no consumer demand for HD Radio in the US:

http://hdradiofarce.blogspot.com/

bobyoung said...

Harve posted: ***UPDATE***

From this afternoons Inside Radio Update:

"HD Radio sales jump 725% in '07. In what iBiquity terms a "breakthrough year," listeners bought 330,000 HD Radio receivers last year, a jump from 40,000 in 2006. iBiquity released the sales data to the NAB Radio Board during its Winter meeting this week in Washington."

Sorry Harve, but who do we believe? iNiquity in Oct who said they sold 200,000 receivers in 2006 or iNiquity now who say they only sold 40,000 receivers in 2006?
Jeeez, could it, I mean is it possible that iNiquity is fudging the figures for some reason, perhaps to highly inflate their percentage increase of receivers sold from 2006 to 2007? You don't actually think that that paragon of honesty, iNiquity, would actually intentionally inflate or deflate their sales figures at will to try to fool anyone do you? Very unlike this company which brought us the worst technology since the 8 track player and continues to try to pretend that it's an improvement over analog radio when all it does is cut receiver range severely (even with roof top antennas) and interfere with adjacent channels. DAB is failing everywhere in Europe, does iNiquity actually think anyone is going to swallow their lying doubletalk here in the US?

HARVE ALAN said...

Bob,

I won't got so far as to say they are lying because I don't know what the truth is. Let's assume for just a moment that the numbers are correct. They still stink!

HD Radio even when painted with a "best case scenario" brush is still a tough putt. Market forces will determine its success or failure no matter how many millions are spent on transmitters and marketing.

Anonymous said...

The real question is, how many of these HD Radio sales were essentially 'passive' sales; that is, included as standard equipment or as part of a premium package in new automobiles, and not as a feature consumers actively sought out? I think the answer is obvious when you consider that Clear Channel just slashed investment in radio formats for its HD subchannels.