BBC Radio and the 4 Digital Group on Monday reiterated their commitment to develop digital radio in the UK.The two parties said they intended to look at ways of encouraging more rapid consumer take-up of digital radio and developing the available technology to secure a successful future for DAB.
“Rajar’s figures last week showed that listening to digital radio grew for the fourth quarter running and that DAB listening has topped 100 million hours. The DRDB also reported a substantial increase in sales of DAB sets before Christmas and forecast that household penetration would grow to 30% in 2008.It is clear to us that DAB has an exciting future in a fast converging UK media industry. The BBC and 4 Digital Group are committed to digital radio long term and both believe that working together, and with the rest of the radio industry, is vital if we are to secure the UK’s position in the forefront of digital radio development. We want to work together to make the very best of UK radio available to everyone, while continuing to compete to provide the very best audio content that will be the primary means of ensuring the success of digital radio in the years to come.” Signalling their joint commitment to continue to develop DAB as a key platform for the future of digital radio, Jenny Abramsky, Director of BBC Audio & Music, and Nathalie Schwarz, Chair of 4 Digital Group said.
In the first instance, the BBC and 4 Digital Group are exploring the technological innovations made possible by DAB, from interactive exchange between listener and broadcaster and EPG-based services, including programme storage, to text and image-based services that offer programme information, pictures, sports results and local news and weather.
4 Digital Group is the consortium that won the licence from Ofcom to run the second national commercial DAB multiplex in June last year. Led by Channel 4 Radio, it brings together a formidable multi-media alliance comprising some of the biggest names in radio, television, publishing, retail, technical expertise and data innovation. The 4 Digital Group Shareholders are Channel 4 Radio, H Bauer (formerly EMAP Digital Radio Limited), UTV Radio (GB) Limited, BSkyB, The Carphone Warehouse Group plc and UBC Media Group plc.