On Friday MediaDailyNews reported erroneously on a new report from ABI Research (picked up by FMQB and others) that “various [European] governments have established HD radio as the national standard” and says that “ABI expects the global ‘installed base’ of HD radio receivers to jump to 200 million by 2015.”
The ABI report says something different:
The digital radio market has just began to see consumer adoption in the US and Western Europe. By the end of 2010, about four million digital radios using iBiquity’s proprietary HD Radio technology will have shipped in the US. In Europe (led by Britain) governments have chosen the DAB standard and consumers have purchased nearly 13.5 million radio receivers. By 2015, the worldwide installed base of digital radio receivers, excluding handsets, is expected to reach nearly 200 million units. ¶ “Smartphones are expected to include digital radio receivers starting in mid-2011, driven by carriers’ desire to offer users premium audio content while limiting the use of scarce radio spectrum,” says ABI Research senior analyst Sam Rosen. “This concern is demonstrated by AT&T’s decision to stop offering unlimited data plans, due largely to high data usage in New York and San Francisco resulting from Internet radio sites such as Pandora.” ¶ Digital radio technologies, including satellite radio and Internet radio, are expected to reverse trends of decreasing listenership. Listeners will have access to niche programming targeted to narrower demographic segments and will respond to a more interactive user experience enabled by program guides and other enhancements. Broadcasters, in turn, will have a larger reach and the ability to provide better targeted and more interactive ads. … [bold added]
Link: ABI Research press release.
HD Radio® is primarily a U.S. standard for in-band on-channel digital radio. Europe chose a DAB standard that operates on exclusively digital channels.
For our purposes as broadcasters, the two sentences that I highlighted in bold above contain some encouragement, if they prove correct. Clearly, the carriers are finding it difficult to scale to audio and video streaming on existing networks so incorporating broadcast spectrum capabilities into their handsets can be a good strategy for them. Apple has reportedly included (but not yet turned on) broadcast capabilities in recent chipsets.
For better coverage of the ABI report, see Gabriel Perna’s article, Report: Smartphones May Boost Radio Audience, in International Business Times. --Dennis