Norway tastes success with digital radio switchover

Only 3 months after FM was switched off in Norway, listener loyalty has been recorded at 98% versus last year, with the new DAB stations representing one third of all radio.
Norway FM to DAB switchover
Norway FM to DAB switchover

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Only 3 months after FM was switched off in Norway, a listener survey shows the new digital stations have grown to one third of all radio listening. Most radio listeners still tune in to radio, and the new digital stations have shown strong growth. In the Digital Radio Survey of February 2018, Norwegians state that they have 5.6 million DAB radios and 4.7 million FM-only radios.

These are some of the findings presented by a group of Norwegian stakeholders at Radiodays Europe 2018, the radio industry's annual European assembly. A new report from the year of switchover has been published online.

Listener loyalty has been recorded at 98% versus last year (Jan-18 vs Jan-17), on a weekly listening basis. Listeners have stayed loyal through the switchover, even though daily listening has shown a bigger reduction than the weekly listening.

In January, the new stations accounted for 34 per cent of all listening. Every week, 2.7 million Norwegians are now listening to these new services. 54 per cent of all cars have DAB and two thirds of radio listening in cars takes place via DAB.

As the first country in the world to switch off national FM broadcasts, Norway is also the largest market for the new product group of DAB adaptors, stated the report. During the past 15 months, Norwegians have bought 2.4 million DAB radios.

Norway is regarded as the world’s most modern radio nation with full digital distribution of national radio stations. FM has been replaced by several digital platforms: DAB, IP/Internet and digital TV. Of these, DAB is the largest and the platform with the greatest growth in recent years

"We are happy and grateful for having most radio listeners still with us. The Norwegian broadcasters did not carry out the digital switchover to gain listeners in the short term, but to retain them in the long run," says Ole Jørgen Torvmark, CEO of Digitalradio Norway.

With the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting, the number of national stations has increased from 5 to 31.

During 2017, a record breaking 2 million DAB radio sets were sold in Norway as the FM switch off point neared - this is almost 3 times a normal year’s sales.

"We know that not all listeners have replaced all their FM radios. This means fewer listening opportunities, and explains the drop in daily listening. From our survey, however, we see that listeners, given some time, will gradually develop a new, digital listening pattern," says Torvmark.

Those who do not yet have DAB in their car but used to listen to national radio in their car every day before the FM shutdown state that, in the absence of national channels, they mainly listen to local radio or music via streaming or CD.

Digitalradio Norway released their report on the digital switchover at Radiodays Europe. In total, more than 300 delegates from over 20 countries have attended the sessions on the Norwegian switchover.

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