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Here’s the latest data on HD Radio-compatible vehicle sales for last year

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Now that we’ve made it almost two months into 2018, we have data to share about HD Radio sales across the US for 2017. 

A couple of salient facts for you to consider:

  • All 40 major automobile brands offer HD radio in at least one model
  • Nearly 250 different car models come with HD radio
  • More than 50% of those car models sell for under $35K, and 75% cost less than $50K

While the growth in HD radio penetration seemed to level off a bit in 2014 and 2015, it has grown as of late, now reaching an impressive 48.9%.

Lest you think your market “doesn’t care” about HD, let’s take a look at the highest levels of HD radio in-car penetration: 

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Each week, more Americans tune into AM/FM radio than watch TV or use smartphones, tablets and computers

NEW YORK — Let’s shut out the gloom and doom about our industry for just a bit.

According to Nielsen’s second quarter 2017 Comparable Metrics Report, radio remains the top way to reach consumers across all media platforms. Each week, more Americans tune into AM/FM radio (93%) than watch television or use smartphones, tablets and computers. At the same time, streaming audio offers consumers even more ways to listen across many of those same devices.

“…To really compare apples to apples, we need to consider AM/FM radio (both over-the-air stations and their online streams) alongside all forms of streaming audio (apps and websites that stream both music and talk) and turn to comparable metrics,” writes Brad Kelly, managing director for Nielsen Audio in this article . “This allows us to go in-depth with audio use and evaluate listeners, using three basic concepts that can be applied across all media: how many, how often and how long. When viewed through these comparable measures, we can see how AM/FM radio and streaming audio stack up.”

· AM/FM radio continues to reach significantly more people each week than any other medium in the U.S. at 228.5 million adults 18+ compared with 216.5 million for TV (live, DVR and time-shifted), 204 million for app/web on a smartphone, and 127.6 million for video on a smartphone. Broadcast radio’s weekly reach of 228.5 million also outpaces the 67.6 million using streaming audio, 35.9 million using satellite radio and 20.7 million consuming podcasts.

· Americans use radio five days per week, compared to three days for streaming on smartphones and tablets and two days for streaming on a computer.

· By understanding the reach (how many) and frequency of use (how often) for each form of audio, the time spent (how long) for both radio and streaming audio can be calculated. When comparing gross minutes (the total time spent summed for all p18+ users) radio outpaces streaming audio by a factor of 14:1 in an average week.

“Adding up the total minutes for AM/FM radio and streaming audio equates to more than 202 billion minutes per week, with AM/FM representing 93 percent of total weekly minutes compared with roughly seven percent for streaming audio,” writes Kelly.

Note: Nielsen’s Q2 2017 Comparable Metrics Report uses audience measurement data from an average week during the second quarter of 2017. AM/FM radio data is sourced from Nielsen’s RADAR and National Regional Database systems. Streaming audio data is sourced from Nielsen’s Electronic Mobile Measurement (EMM) panel and is inclusive of sites and internet applications used on smartphones, computers and tablets which are specifically designed to provide audio content for both music and talk.

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This news follows recent national FM switch-offs and transitions to digital radio

OSLO and BERLIN — In a recent article , I wrote that we can gain some sort of idea about how radio listening in Norway will trend based on the sales of radios there. If you agree with that then you will likely agree that there is likely to be an uptick in the use of radio there, even after the FM switch-off.

Over the course of 2017, while the nationwide FM networks were being switched off, Norwegians bought 1.1 million home and portable radios and 700,000 DAB+ adaptors for in-car use, along with 159,000 cars with pre-installed DAB+ radios, according to Radio.no . Prior to last year sales of radios were typically around 750,000 pieces including home and car products. By November 2017 85% of Norwegian households owned at least one DAB+ radio and 49% of all Norwegian private cars had a DAB+ radio (Digital radio survey, Kantar Media).

Meanwhile, the number of cars sold in Germany with digital radios installed has almost doubled since 2016, with The German Automobile Trust (DAT) announcing in its 2018 annual report that the take rate of new cars sold in Germany with DAB+ radio in 2017 was 39.1%. In 2015 only 13% of new cars were sold with DAB+ radio and by 2016 it was 21%. The data is based on surveys of new car buyers by the Society for Consumer research (GFK, commissioned by DAT), reports WorldDAB.org .

Ninety-eight percent of German highways are covered by the national DAB+ radio network coverage, along with 96% of the German population. National services include three programs from Deutschlandradio and nine from private broadcasters; from 2019 onwards, the national DAB+ offering is likely to increase from 16 to 30 stations. Already, regionally broadcast services include over 150 different DAB+ programs from the ARD regional broadcasters and private broadcasters, according to the same article. 

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Charter Communications will roll out DOCSIS D3.1 across its 50-million-home footprint by end of 2018

STAMFORD, Conn. — Charter Communications, the second-largest cable and broadband provider in the US, recently stated that it will roll out DOCSIS D3.1 across its 50-million-home footprint by year’s end. After doing so, it will offer its new Spectrum Internet Gig service (actually 940 Mbit/s downstream) nationwide by the end of the year, according to lightreading.com . Other large cable players such as Comcast, Cox Communications, Mediacom, and Cable One have similar plans and timelines.

DOCSIS is an acronym for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification that describes an international telecommunications standard used for the addition of high-bandwidth data communications to an existing cable TV system. It’s the means by which cable television operators to provide internet access over their existing hybrid fiber-coaxial infrastructure.

Charter has already deployed the technology and its corresponding Spectrum Internet Gig service in eight markets, including, New York City, Austin, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Oahu, Raleigh/Durham and San Antonio and now offers “1-Gig” service to 9 million homes and businesses in those markets, or nearly 20% of its total footprint, according to the same article. 

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It’s too early to tell what the end result will be, we’re anxious to answer this question

OSLO — One of the advantages radio has over the years had with respect to other services like Pandora, Spotify (and other online sources) is that everyone already had one or more radios in their homes or cars.

Now, though, with the ubiquitous presence of smartphones, that advantage is gone, with the possible exception of inside the car.

So the question must be posed: Why would you force all of your listeners throw out all the radios they already have and buy a new one? How many of them will bother? That’s the operative question as we watch the results of the FM switch off in Norway. By the way — though it’s too early to tell what the end result will be, we’re anxious to answer this question and I, for one, can’t help but pour over the initial findings.

“The number of weekly listeners is almost the same as before the switch off. However, the number of daily listeners is down by 463000, according to listening figures just published for January 2018,” reports Radio.no . The Director of Digital Radio Norway, Ole Jørgen Torvmark, thinks that since there are fewer radios in Norwegian households, that there are fewer places and times to listen, thus explaining the drop.

The number of radio devices that can receive national radio stations has been reduced by almost 50% after the FM-switch off, according to the Digital Radio Survey, citing research from Kantar Media. Notably, though, according to the PPM survey (also Kantar Media) almost 3.7 million Norwegians listened weekly to radio in January 2018. That is only 44,000 less than in 2017. 2.6 million Norwegians listened to radio every day in January 2018, 463,000 fewer daily listeners compared to 2017, according to the same article.

“Our experience from the early switch off regions has shown that the listening figures drop at first, and they then start to rise again when consumers have had time to replace their FM radios,” said Torvmark, quoted in the same article.

Our correspondent in Norway doesn’t share the optimism of Mr. Torvmark. Eivind Engberg, whom we have quoted previously, thinks local FMs will be unprofitable with two–three years, and many of them will have to go dark. “It’s a really bad idea to shut down the FM system. Reason number one is clear: Every listener has access to many FM radio sets these days. So lesson number one is to not shut down the feed that can access millions of receivers and end-users,” writes Eivind. “The second reason: Don’t forget the end users. If they are not happy — then you’re out of business very soon. It’s the end-user that will decide the future distribution of radio — not the broadcasters. If the end-user loves the radio — don’t make him lose the signal so that he’s forced to find other workarounds…then the end-user might end up at Pandora or Spotify.”

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