Mentre la tiepida accoglienza rivolta al DAB dal consumatore britannico rallenta il lancio dell’offerta digitale di Channel 4, il Times rivela che il gruppo radiotelevisivo avrebbe commissionato all’industria dell’elettronica di consumo un dispositivo in grado di abilitare alla ricezione del DAB i telefoni cellulari e gli iPod. Costo previsto: 20 sterline. L’unica speranza per il DAB è attirare l’attenzione dei giovani dell’MP3 e degli automobilisti, sostengono i capi di Channel 4, ma finora si è visto poco Per esempio Robi, un modulo plug-in DAB/FM-RDS per iPod prodotto da Roberts Radio (50 sterline).
L’idea di un’offerta integrata fatta di contenuti esclusivi e dispositivi a basso costo potrebbe essere l’unica in grado di funzionare (è il senso generale della proposta che i miei amici di Visionee stanno studiando). Questo e la possibilità di abilitare alla ricezione DAB dispositivi non radiofonici, come i navigatori satellitari per auto. Ma bisogna fare in fretta, uno studio Enders Analysis di gennaio sostiene che la radio digitale Eureka 147 rischia di fare la stessa fine del Betamax. Nell’era di Internet è facilissimo oltrepassare le soglie del non ritorno…
May 27, 2008
Channel 4 hopes mobile gadget will save DAB
A new electronic device that enables mobile phone users to plug into digital radio will rescue digital audio broadcasting, Channel 4 Radio believes.
The broadcaster, set to launch digital station E4 Radio this year, is in talks with electronics manufacturers to create a branded plug-in DAB device for iPods and mobile phones. The move comes as DAB radio take-up has been slow with the device facing numerous challenges in recent months.
Sources told The Times that, while talks with manufacturers were at an early stage, the broadcaster is keen to create an E4 or Channel 4-branded device that will cost no more than £20. Channel 4 would market the plug-in to young people alongside its new digital stations.
Channel 4 – which headed the 4 Digital consortium that won the licence to launch the second national digital radio multiplex last year – has faced a number of setbacks since the launch of its digital radio stations.
Most notably, GCap, Britain’s largest commercial radio group, announced in February that it planned to leave digital radio, sending shockwaves through the industry and prompting a statement from the BBC and Channel 4 reinforcing their support for DAB. Separately, the broadcaster, which is to launch the second digital radio multiplex in a year, has been the subject of a funding crisis.
Although there are 6.5 million digital radio sets in Britain, there are more than 100 million analogue sets and only a small proportion of the country’s 30 million cars have the new technology. Enders Analysis recently published a report on the challenging future for DAB, suggesting it could become the new Betamax.
The launch of E4 Radio, Channel 4’s music station, has already been put back from its original start date of July, although Channel 4 has said it hopes to launch it later this year. Channel 4’s next two branded stations, Channel 4 Radio, a speech station, and Pure4, are to launch in 2009.
Channel 4 recently appointed Bob Shennan, the former BBC Radio 5 Live controller, to take up his new role as director of its radio in April.
In December, Channel 4 announced the appointment of Shennan to replace Nathalie Schwarz, who had been promoted to Channel 4’s board. 4 Digital is believed to have held talks with Global Radio – which will inherit the first DAB multiplex, Digital One, when it completes its £375 million takeover of GCap Media – about combining their two digital transmission services.
The Digital Radio Working Group was formed to discuss the future for DAB and ways of developing it. Members include representatives from the BBC, commercial radio, Ofcom, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the manufacturing industry.
The working group is understood to be keen for an increase in the types of DAB devices available to consumers. While it is thought to be particularly keen to encourage car manufacturers to make digital radios a standard feature in new cars, other solutions could include working with the satellite navigation industry to create DAB radio chips to sat nav devices.
While Roberts Radio has already produced a DAB plug-in for iPods, Channel 4 is hoping that it will be able to use the strength of its brand to market DAB to young people.