Friday, January 27, 2012

Audiences on the move

"No media ever dies", says Gunnar Garfors, president of the International DMB Advancement Group (IDAG), Norway. TV, web, papers and radio are still going strong. We spend 7,5 hours on the media daily, and according to the audience listening to the radio is still very important. Today FM car radio usage is even stronger than normal FM radio usage.

A couple of years ago telecom companies aimed at offering any kind of data services in order to earn more money. Today, broadcasting networks are overloaded, and the whole industry is waiting for the new Long Term Evolution (LTE, 4G) technology which is hoped to solve all the problems. It won't, nor will the internet, Garfors points out, for 16 reasons:
  1. Heavy usage can take down the internet.
  2. The internet is a playground for gatekeepers (access providers, Apple, governments, IT companies).
  3. Broadcasting networks are hard to hack.
  4. Wifi/3G/4G chipsets consume a lot more energy.
  5. Radio and TV provide too much data for the internet, and costly too. If Norway's public broadcaster NRK would distribute their TV and radio programmes on the internet costs would increase by € 150.000.000/year.
  6. Internet access is not free of charge.
  7. There is not enough bandwidth available.
  8. Broadcasting works at high speeds.
  9. Rural areas are not well covered by high speed internet.
  10. Broadcasting is not onl for live radio and TV (also map informations, bus stops etc.).
  11. Net neutrality is threatened (media, ISP, users).
  12. Broadcasting covers big areas effectively.
  13. Only one distribution channel means no backup (transactions, electricity, phone, radio, TV, traffic information, filecasting, broadband, emergency communication).
  14. Anonymous media consumption is only available via broadcasting thanks to the data retention act that has been passed across Europe.
  15. Double distribution is not effective, economical nor wanted.
  16. Ordinary web traffic is already increasing extremely fast (by 2015 15 billion devices will be connected).
And now? Broadcasting and internet - the combination is king, Garfors says. Combining DAB/DAB+/DMB broadcasting with data layers allows
  • new formats, services, and revenues
  • an increasing dialogue with listeners/viewers
  • a cost-efficient combination of live and on-demand content
  • touch screen shopping (smartphones, pads, even GPS devices)
Radio must go digital, Garfors concludes. The technology (DAB/DAB+/DMB) is available, cost-efficient and mature.

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