DMG reveals Novanation and Koffee as digital radio launch moves to August

koffeeLogo_FINALnovanation-logoCommercial Radio Australia has postponed the official national launch of digital radio until August, the organisation admitted today.  

As recently as last month, the CRA had still been signalling that the “use it or lose it” date of July 1 issued by the Government – which was itself an extension on a previous deadline – would be the date for a full rollout. But the plans appear to have been derailed by the delays in the ABC and SBS in launching their services and the CRA quietly moved to an August 6 consumer launch.

A spokesman told Mumbrella there would be a five-state simultaneous transmission across the entire radio network. She conceded that  the CRA had not made an announcement about the date switch but said: “We have been talking about it on air.” She said that Perth will be the first market to have services switched on later this month, with other states to follow.

The timing emerged as DMG Radio – parent company of Nova, Vega and 5AA – announced the launch of its two new digital radio brands – Koffee and Novanation – last night. Koffee – initially only in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, will offer chillout music while Novanation, broadcast nationally, is aimed at the lovers of dance music.

DMG CEO Cathy O’Connor told Mumbrella the strategy was to extend the Nova brand through Novanation and do a stand-alone brand with Koffee. “It’s a mixture of what’s the market opportunity, what do we see that’s unique, what do we see that’s commercially viable and these are the two that made the most sense,” she said.

O’Connor stressed the initial goal was to promote the new digital technology to the consumer as an industry rather than individually pushing the brands to the market and does not expect any above-the-line activity to take place for Koffee and Novanation in the first six to 12 months. She said that building awareness in online communities would be a focus in the interim. “I think we can make a real noise of it where it counts. That’s in the online communities that are going to be interested in these music brands.”

She acknowledged high returns weren’t predicted while digital radio is still being introduced to the public. “Our expectations of a commercial return in the first year are fairly modest and I think that’s born of the fact that not every Australian will have a digital radio.”

While decisions on inventory positions are yet to be made, O’Connor said she anticipated there would be fewer ads on Novanation than its FM cousin, which already sells itself around its low-clutter ‘never more than two ads in a row’ format.

O’Connor revealed that each station has a commercial partner. She decliend to name them, but conceded that Koffee’s sponsor would be an “obvious” choice. The Coffee Club had branding at the launch event. Koffee and Novanation are already both streaming online.


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