At the recently concluded ABU Digital Broadcasting 2022 Symposium, one of the sessions discussed Evolution of business strategies for broadcast and media. It was hosted by ZhongshiAnchor, China Global Television Networks (CGTN) and included presentations from Joan WarnerChief Executive Officer, Commercial Radio Australia, and Simon KeesSales and Business Development Manager, Ampegon.

Warner’s presentation was titled Radio 2022 and beyond: Responding to the commercial imperative.

She began by discussing the current broadcasting scene in Australia“Most listening in Australia is still done using AM/FM and DAB+ broadcasts, but there is growth in online listening via mobile apps, smart speakers, in-car apps and aggregators.Streaming and podcast numbers are also up.However, we need to invest in broadcast as well as non-broadcast digital to maintain our competitive edge while building capacity on any other platform possible.

According to research, people enjoy hearing entertainment and news about local areas delivered by local voices, which gives radio a strong edge over digital platforms.

“Live and local are one of radio’s superpowers. It connects local communities and provides a trusted, authentic, and local haven for listeners and advertisers. It is imperative that we continuously communicate the power of radio and DAB+, not only to advertisers, but also to government and lawmakers,” she says.

With high quality sound, DAB is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than AM and FM, but just as reliable and robust. DAB+ offers a significant choice of content and creates additional audiences and revenue growth for broadcasters. There are now over 350 DAB+ and AM/FM stations on the radio app – robust growth over ten years.”

Giving an example of how DAB+ offers the agility and flexibility a big plus for commercial broadcasters, she cited the winner Little Fox Digital Radio, which was created in just four days for children during the COVID pandemic. It stayed on the air for ten months and was listened to by thousands of Australian families.

Talking about how radio can continue to thrive in the connected car, she said that with automakers looking to invest in developing their connected services in the car dashboard and possibly reducing costs elsewhere, broadcast radio is likely to be under pressure. There is a real possibility that the radio in the connected car may not be easily detectable. She discussed research commissioned by WorldDAB in partnership with Radioplayer and sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters, Xperi and CRA. It will provide the radio industry with a solid and independent report on this strategic challenge. The survey asked consumers around the world how much they value in-car radios. Almost every in-car listener says a radio tuner should be standard equipment in every car. Radio operators cannot be passive passengers during the car’s journey into the future.

In summary, she said: “It is imperative that we continue to invest in AM/FM radio and DAB+, in 2022 and beyond, while developing new digital capabilities. The collaboration between DAB+ and the Internet forms the basis for a total radio experience. DAB+ creates audiences and generates revenue for broadcasters. Advertisers need detailed metrics and solid research, which is a critical investment now and in the future. »

Keens made a presentation titled Energy efficiency DRM: reduce the cost of broadcasting.

He started by presenting the basic advantage of DRM: “DRM operates in all frequency bands, capable of having the same standard and principles of operation in every form of broadcast.”

AM has a center frequency with a carrier wave which contains no information but consumes almost 66% of electrical energy. This is what DRM tries to solve. Also, AM in analog mode has grainy interference on the signal and although you can cover a large area, you need hundreds of KW of power to do so. But with DRM, you can cover the same area with only 40KW of power because you get rid of the carrier wave.

“With analog there’s only one audio service, but with DRM you get one to three digital stereo services plus a media stream. As for FM bands, you need less bandwidth and you can cover the same area with 10% power,” he said.

In addition to the investment expenses (CAPEX) linked to the installation of an analog transmitter, the operating expenses represent almost five times the CAPEX over its lifetime.

DRM has also introduced a Power Efficiency Calculator – a tool that calculates how much power can be saved by switching DRM transmitters from analog to digital operation.