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Digital radio could help broadcasting industry double its revenue to Rs 12,300 crore

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the adoption of digital radio technology could help the broadcasting industry double its revenue to Rs 12,300 crore in five years, riding on a robust mobile ecosystem, a new report showed Thursday.

The country has tested two technologies so far — HD radio and Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) — for digital broadcasts in FM bands.

According to a report by the India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) and EY, radio stations will rise from less than 300 today to more than 1,100 without additional spectrum and mass adoption cannot happen without the support of a mobile ecosystem.

“Digital radio broadcasts can tap into segments of entry-level smartphones and several hundred million feature phone users to receive enhanced health, education, emergency and weather services, offloading them by offloading additional data networks,” said Pankaj Mohindroo , Chairman, ICEA.

“Communication usage with Internet of Things (IoT) devices are also the next steps in the pipeline,” he added.

Digital radio broadcasting can be highly beneficial to all industry stakeholders – broadcasters, listeners, advertisers and regulators – and can help the FM radio segment grow revenue.

This comes at a time when the FM radio segment has struggled to generate solid revenues in recent years.

“It would lead to more ad inventory to sell with the ability to charge higher rates based on segmented audiences. Since the digital radio system can provide listener data, broadcasters can build trust and ultimately generate more revenue,” the report said.

Cost optimization is another important factor of these technologies for the broadcasters, as their transmitters consume significantly less power compared to analog radio transmitters, it added.

“Digital radio can give a much needed boost to the Indian radio segment. It can help grow the radio segment in India by 3x over 5 years,” said Ashish PherwanicPartner, EY LLP (India).

About 4 times more channels are possible within the same frequency, which can give listeners more options.

Furthermore, the technology is focused on broadcasting and consumers do not have to pay data costs, the report said.

The report recommended innovations around cost-effective chipsets, antennas and software to drive faster adoption of digital radio.


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