LONDON The installed base of DAB receivers in the U.K. now exceeds 3.5 million and receiver sales are increasing rapidly in several other European countries according to a report from Eureca Research.
The global market is predicted to rise to 145 million DAB radio receivers by 2012 excluding DMB and DAB-IP mobile TV devices with the EMEA region accounting for 110 million units.
The survey of 50 countries found that commercial broadcasters in western Europe are putting digital radio back on their agendas following the publication of the GE-06 plan and regulators in several European countries expect to issue licenses in 2006 and 2007. Increasing interest is reported in eastern Europe with several public broadcasters expected to launch commercial services in the next twelve months and others starting their first trials.
The GE-06 spectrum plan published recently by the ITU guarantees a minimum of three national DAB coverages (or equivalent) for the majority of ITU Region 1 countries with field strength levels sufficient to provide portable indoor reception.
There are now more than 250 DAB audio products and 100 DMB mobile TV products on the market.In South Korea, mobile TV via the DMB standard has had an encouraging start since its launch in December 2005 with more than 1.4 million receivers sold to date and similar services have been launched in China and Germany.
“The GE-06 plan guarantees that spectrum will be available to enable analogue radio to transition to DAB and removes a significant degree of uncertainty regarding the adoption of DAB in the minds of governments and regulators in many countries” said Gareth Owen, research director at Eureca Research. “The existence of such a plan will make it considerably easier for countries across the whole EMEA region to introduce DAB.”
During the next 6 years, Eureca Research (Bangor, Wales) expects to see a rapid acceleration of DAB deployment driven by a combination of factors: the availability of new spectrum, the mobile TV factor and the increasing convergence in the media world which is changing traditional analogue radio business models and forcing broadcasters to seek new revenue-generating digital services.
“The adoption of the Eureka-147 DAB standard for mobile TV services in large countries such as China, India and possibly Russia – in addition to several other European and Asian countries – over the next three years could boost its commercial prospects significantly, and guarantee its future as a dominant global broadcasting standard for radio, mobile TV and multimedia content,” said Owen.
During the 2006-2012 forecast period, DAB will transition from being a virtually audio-only platform into a fully interactive multimedia and mobile TV platform capable of delivering a range of revenue-generating services such as subscription radio services, music downloads, live TV services, visual radio content (graphics, images), pay-podcast services, TPEG traffic and travel information, etc.