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Australia - Radio - Digital Radio


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

Australia - Radio - Digital Radio

Digital radio still only permanently operates in the five mainland state capitals of Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney with continual yearly extension of trials seeing operations in Canberra and Darwin until end-August 2014. For the rest of regional and remote Australians the wait will be some time, as the cost of setting up the additional infrastructure and decision on the best frequency burden the decision making process.

The commercial and national broadcasters (Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Special Broadcasting Service) formally commenced digital radio services back in 2009. All the extra digital channels have to compete with the existing AM/FM radio stations and new digital media streams for 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 radio communications 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, community radio stations gain increased digital radio funding.

Companies covered in this report include:

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


1. Synopsis
2. Market overview
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Market statistics
2.3 Regional deployment of digital radio
2.4 Digital radio is just a supplementary service
2.5 The radio stations
2.6 Chemist warehouse MIX90s broadcasting online and instore
2.7 Supermarkets provide digital radio instore
2.8 Community digital radio gains broadcasting funds
2.9 Digital radio provided in vehicles increasing
2.10 Digital radio still being trialled regionally in 2014
2.11 Digital radio coverage extended in some metropolitan areas
2.12 Regulatory developments
2.13 Agreement on new Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) standard
3. Features and benefits of digital radio
3.1 Reception quality
3.2 Text, images and data
3.3 Visual radio
3.4 Music downloading
3.5 Greater programming capacity
3.6 Traffic information
3.7 Advertising
3.8 Pay radio
3.9 Internet radio
4. Market analysis
4.1 Digital radio on a mobile phone to increase user base
4.2 Can digital compete with new technologies?
4.3 Opportunities moving forward
4.4 Digital radio penetration rising
5. Related reports
Table 1 Estimated size of digital radio listening audience 2009 - 2014
Table 2 Estimated sales of digital radios 2009 - 2014
Table 3 Funding of digital radio community radio 2009 - 2016
Chart 1 Overview of digital radio sales versus listeners 2009 - 2014
Exhibit 1 Brief timeline of music on the internet 1984 - 2014

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