Radio owners pay $7m to beef up digital stations

Commercial radio operators, led by 2Day FM owner Austereo, have paid more than $7m to buy excess spectrum allowing them to launch more digital stations and improve their existing digital offerings.  

Following an auction in Sydney, Austereo, Supernetwork and Australian Radio Network (ARN) were the successful bidders, allowing them to launch up to 12 new audio and/or data services.

In Melbourne Austereo, Sport 927 and ARN won the bid; in Brisbane it was Austereo, DMG and ARN; in Adelaide the excess spectrum was taken by Austereo; while in Perth it went to Grant/Capital Broadcasters and Austereo.

The extra spectrum will mean radio companies will be able to broaden their digital radio offerings by either launching new digital radio stations or upgrading their existing stations by adding more scrolling text and more video content on the screens of digital radio sets.

In May this year commercial and public broadcasters began switching on their digital services across the five major cities around the country.

But the success of digital radio and consumer demand for it is still the big question for many advertisers and media agencies, with the industry body, Commercial Radio Australia launching a survey into digital listening in the new year.

New DAB+ digital only commercial radio stations now include Novanation, Koffee, Radar, Hot30 Countdown Jelli, Gorilla Super Digi, MY Perth Digital, Hot Country Perth Digital, Mix 102.3 Plus, WSFM Plus, Gold Plus, The EDGE Digital and Sky Sports Radio 2.

Last month, the CRA launched the latest phase of its $10m digital radio awareness campaign, pitching digital radio as the ideal gift for Christmas.

Meanwhile, the funds raised from the auction will be used by the digital joint venture companies in each major city to promote digital radio technology in their markets.


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