Monday, October 2, 2023

In-Car DAB+ Reaching Maturity Reflected at WorldDAB Automotive

“In-vehicle DAB+ is now reaching maturity”, said WorldDAB President Patrick Hannon as he opened WorldDAB Automotive 2023 in Paris recently.

Hannon cited figures showing that 96 percent of new cars sold within the European Union came with DAB+, meaning 10 million new vehicles on the road in Europe with DAB+ in 2022. He described this level of DAB+ in-car penetration as “completely transforming the radio landscape,” adding: “this change is clearly illustrated by listening figures in the UK, where, for the first time, DAB now accounts for more than 50 percent of all radio listening in cars.”

Over 500 delegates from 60 countries gathered at Maison de la Radio, home of Radio France in Paris, and online for the annual conference, which brings together the broadcast and automotive sectors. All the major automotive OEMs, along with many key suppliers, attended the event, which was organised by WorldDAB, the global industry forum for DAB+ digital radio.

There was strong commitment to DAB+ from major European markets, with Sibyle Veil, CEO of Radio France, using a keynote address to reiterate her call for one-button access to radio in the dashboard, citing this as a question of cultural sovereignty. Veil noted that France had started on the DAB+ journey later than some but was now ‘accelerating’ to bring benefits such as more stations and more choice to listeners.

Jean Philip De Tender, Deputy Director General, Director of Media, EBU echoed this, saying “radio shouldn’t just be simple to find – it should be impossible to miss. Just like the old physical radio button, access to radio – whether AM, FM, DAB, or over the internet – should be immediately obvious.”

Peter Fohrwikl, Head of Programme Services at Südwestrundfunk (SWR) highlighted radio’s robustness and resilience in emergencies, describing DAB+ as “Germany’s one stop shop for safety and security information.”

The event also saw the launch of the ‘Dashboard Dialogue’ research study, commissioned by WorldDAB and undertaken last month by Edison Research, which includes in-vehicle interviews with new car buyers in the UK, France and Germany. Megan Lazovick, Vice President, Edison Research highlighted the key findings, including that radio remains the most listened-to audio platform in the car. Delegates saw videos of the interviews, which underlined the findings that drivers believe radio is essential in-car, with one driver saying: “a car without a radio is like a shopping trolley without wheels.”

In his closing remarks, Patrick Hannon announced that the annual WorldDAB Summit, exploring all aspects of the global growth of DAB+, will be held in Munich, Germany on the 8th of November 2023.


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