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Australia - Radio - Digital Radio


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

Digital radio operates in the five mainland state capitals of Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney of Australia. Trials in Canberra and Darwin are continuing until end-July 2013 after several trial extensions have now been granted. The commercial and national broadcasters (Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Special Broadcasting Service) formally commenced digital radio services back in 2009.

All these extra digital channels must compete with the existing radio stations for any new and existing radio advertising dollars and listeners.

More than 35 community broadcasters have broadcast digitally with funding received from The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. While Australian commercial radio broadcasters adopted the new DAB+ standard for the implementation of digital radio, the excessive infrastructure costs will slow regional adoption and rollout. Other issues include the limited coverage area as opposed to existing technologies.

While digital radio has the potential to deliver a range of new and innovative services to listeners through the more efficient use of radiocommunications spectrum, the introduction is premised on digital radio being used as a supplement to existing radio services rather than a replacement technology. As such, digital radio will be introduced in stages, and operate alongside existing analogue radio services. The final bastion of the analogue transmission spectrum will remain in use for many decades before we are all able to finally hear digital radio across all of Australia.

In this report we provide an overview of digital radio functionality as well as market analysis, listener statistics in text, tabular and easy-to-read charts with historic information on the development of digital radio in Australia.

Key developments:

DAB, digital audio, streaming, podcasting, media, more car companies installing DAB equipment as standard.

Companies covered in this report include:

Southern Cross Austereo, Australian Radio Network (ARN), DMG, Macquarie Radio Network, ABC, SBS, Chemist Warehouse.


1. Synopsis
2. Market overview
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Market statistics
2.3 Regional deployment of digital radio
2.4 Features and benefits of digital radio
2.4.1 Reception quality
2.4.2 Text, images and data
2.4.3 Visual radio
2.4.4 Music downloading
2.4.5 Greater programming capacity
2.4.6 Traffic information
2.4.7 Advertising
2.4.8 Pay radio
2.4.9 Internet radio
2.5 Digital radio has commenced
2.6 The radio stations
2.7 Push broadcasting
2.8 Chemist warehouse MIX90s broadcasting online and instore
2.9 Digital radio in vehicles becoming standard equipment
2.10 Digital radio still being trialled regionally in 2013
2.11 Digital radio coverage to extend in metropolitan areas
2.12 Regulatory developments
2.13 Agreement on new Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) standard
3. Market analysis
3.1 Can digital compete with new technologies?
3.2 Opportunities moving forward
3.3 Digital radio changeover cost could be prohibitive
4. Related reports
Table 1 – Estimated size of digital radio listening audience – 2009 - 2013
Table 2 – Estimated sales of digital radios – 2009 - 2013
Chart 1 – Overview of digital radio sales versus listeners – 2009 - 2013
Exhibit 1 – Timeline of music on the internet – 1984 - 2013

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