As the world is moving towards digital avenues, testing for digital radio has already begun. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is also hopeful that digital radio will add a new dimension to radio technology. According to Ashruf El Dinary, SVP, Xperi Digital Platforms and HD Radio, once launched, it will open new avenues for both consumers and broadcasters in the country.
“Digital radio is coming to India and the exciting part is that it is going to open new avenues for both broadcasters and consumers in the form of increased multimedia experience and content programming for radio channels with an increased connectivity,” Dinary said.
He also went on to add that the broadcasters will also benefit from digital radio as digitisation will open doors to more business and revenue growth opportunities and will help them utilise the spectrum with an increased frequency assignment to generate more business.
According to a report prepared by ICEA and EY, the adoption of digital radio technology with simulcast can help double the revenues of the broadcast sector to Rs 123 billion in the next three to five years.
Dinary also added that digital radio already has a stronghold in the USA, and when tested in India the results were very encouraging.
Citing data from the US market, he pointed out that the value of a visual advertisement is 14 times higher than the retention power of analogue radio - solely owing to the visual connection.
“Digital radio has a lot of capabilities and is essentially a digital modulation technology that allows broadcasters to add a lot of content on their existing transmission. With the help of digital technology added to a single transmission, they can increase their programming up to four-five or even more audio programmes on the same transmission,” he said.
As per Dinary, broadcasters will also be able to add text in multimedia image services with digital radio. “We are also exploring the concept of enhanced advertising on the radio platforms and eyeing the empowering value of having a visual ad, be it a text on the screen or even a small graphical image, along with the audio advertisements,” pointed out Dinary.
Commenting on the probable common grounds for digital radio in India and the US, Dinary stated, “Radio listening is all about being connected to your local community, be it through news, music, RJ or VJ, etc. that builds a sense of connection with the region. Radio is also a robust communication technology and radio stations are very resilient when it comes to operating during bad weather, overloading or even in the time of outages.”
In his interaction with BestMediaInfo.com, Dinary also pointed out that digital radio will eventually open doors to an enhanced value for the advertising industry and will result in higher ads and higher ad revenue for the broadcasters.
“It will help radio broadcasters to compete with other services like streaming platforms, through the multimedia presentation on the content - which will add more value to their existing programmes,” he said.
Dinary also went on to add that with the convergence of different types of media and delivery systems, digital radio can bring radio broadcasting and IP services on one device, so that radio can be the primary contributor for information, be it in terms of additional information, metadata, short videos for the programme or even URLs for news reports that people can connect with at a personal level.
However, even with the advancements in digital radio, the transmission mode will still remain FM or AM frequencies, but with a larger coverage area as compared to the analogue mode of operation, as per Dinary.
Furthermore, Dinary also pointed out that with digital radio, broadcasters will also have the ability to ensure that no matter where their audience is, they can always feel connected to their homes. Citing an example, he said, “Users in Delhi will also be able to listen to hear programmes airing from the Mumbai station on the digital radio without any static noise breaking the transmission.”
On a concluding note, Dinary also stated that in order to gain access to digital radio, people would not have to buy any external resources to access digital radio on existing devices, but will have to purchase products which are already digital radio-enabled.