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France: More Analog FM Is Eventual Key to Digital Radio Success

Public consultation regarding digital radio is now complete

PARIS�Thepublic consultationregarding digital radio launched by France�sHigher Audiovisual Council at the beginning of summer is now complete.�

The consultation brought to light two possible obstacles to the eventual success of digital radio in France: the potential of too few local multiplex allotments and too much of an �amazing pipeline of national multiplexes,� according to this article�� The article goes on to say more local multiplexes are needed so that local broadcasters can �engage with a real development strategy that preserves their business model.�

The next round of calls for digital radio applications is especially important, since two major issues need to be addressed:

�������Manufacturers of FM/DAB+/IP receivers need to have confidence in how the system will be deployed throughout the country, before developing designs for in-car and in-home radio systems

�������Broadcasters must have a clear picture of what is to come with respect to digital radio so that they can formulate business plans and go to potential investors.

Ironically, (the article goes on to say) a major factor in the potential future success of DAB+ in France has to do with the ability of local broadcasters to be assigned more FM channels for commercial use.� In-car listening remains the core business of local broadcasters and both IP and digital radio are seen new distribution methods �whose business model remains to be found.�� Further: �…to remain competitive with internet distribution,� and assuming the deployment of DAB, it will be essential for independent radio stations to have a development potential of their audience through (analog) broadcast mode which remains virtually their only source of advertising revenue.�