Digital Radio can help retailers sell stock, but is anyone listening?

By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: Awareness digital radio in Australia is beginning to achieve breakthrough in the consumer marketplace, with Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) CEO Joan Warner saying she is pleased with research showing that almost 40 per cent of Australians knew about the technology.

Although 40 per cent seems low, the timing of the survey, which was conducted by Dick Smith, means that as CRA had only just begun its advertising campaign while the research was being done.

“Nearly 40 per cent awareness before we have started any marketing of the new technology to our listeners, other than PR in newspapers and magazines, is a pretty good start,” Warner told Current.com.au.

“Now that we are actually telling listeners, as of last week, that digital radio is coming, I would expect that awareness to increase significantly over the coming months.”

Should the marketing campaign prove effective, this figure should rise steadily as the switch-on dates approach. This could provide a boon for retailers currently experiencing downturn due to the economic crisis. Whereas digital television has been receiving widespread coverage in the media, and the retail benefits are heavily espoused, the opportunity for retailers to generate new sales by leveraging off digital radio has been largely ignored.

Warner reported that over 400 stores are currently ranging digital radio products. These stores include Harvey Norman, Dick Smith Electronics, the Good Guys and Clive Peeters. Brands include Bush, iRiver, Grundig and TEAC.

CRA has been plagued with bad publicity since launching its Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB+) campaign. Central to this negativity has been continual delays in the actual broadcasting of digital radio, with switch-on dates having to be put back due to various reasons.

Therefore, we asked Warner if retailers can trust the advertised May start date when trying to sell radios.

“The switch-on dates are on track, barring a cyclone or something equally catastrophic that would destroy the towers.

“By the end of May all current commercial services will be broadcasting in digital, with our friends at ABC and SBS to gradually join us on air in June and July.”

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