A Summer Update From HD Radio
August 4, 2008 at 5:35 AM (PT)
HD RADIO technology is continuing to make strides on many fronts, from automotive and new programming channels to international stations going on the air. Its momentum was picked up by USA TODAY recently, which featured HD RADIO broadcasting in three major stories in one issue. Here’s some of the exciting news since thelast communication. Click on the links to get the full stories:
IBIQUITY DIGITAL Pres./CEO BOB STRUBLE points to numerous recent successes. On the automotive side, MERCEDES officially announced that it will offer factory-installed HD RADIO technology on select 2009 vehicles, and the HYUNDAI GENESIS featured HD RADIO technology in their 2009 model press demonstration events.
Many low-cost radios are available at retail this summer, including sub-$100 HD RADIO products from ILUV, JVC, PIONEER, RADIOSOPHY and SONY. And many sub-$200 products are also available from a variety of manufacturers, including COBY, which announced the first battery operated HD RADIO receiver.
ITUNES TAGGING is making major inroads. CLEAR CHANNEL RADIO announced that all of its 350 HD2 stations are ITUNES TAGGING compatible in addition to their main HD RADIO stations. Several new Tagging products are available this summer, including receivers from SONY and JENSEN.
ESPN launched the ESPN HD RADIO network, which is making available compelling sports content for HD2/3 channels. The network, which was launched with the UEFA EURO 2008 tournament, makes ESPN’s vast inventory of sports content available to member stations to easily create high-quality, customized sports channels for its listeners.
Several HD RADIO stations are on the air in MEXICO after that country’s FCC -- MEXICO’S FEDERAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (COFETEL) -- authorized HD RADIO broadcasting within 320 kilometers (200 miles) from its border with the U.S.
Some Basic Facts About The Status Of HD Radio
* More than 1,700 HD Radio stations are on the air in the U.S.
* More than 800 new HD2 or HD3 multicast channels are on the air.
* More than 60 unique HD RADIO SKUs are available.
* More than 12,000 stores and online outlets offer HD Radio products.
* Factory-installed HD RADIO technology is available in all BMWs and Minis.
* Dealer-installed HD RADIO technology is available on Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles.
* HYUNDAI’s GENESIS will be equipped with HD RADIO technology at dealerships this summer.
* MERCEDES, FORD, JAGUAR, SCION and VOLVO have announced that HD RADIO technology will be a factory-installed feature in future models.
So ... How Are Sales?
HD RADIO has been one of the the most advertised products on radio for going on two years or more, now. According to MEDIA MONITORS, it was the #2 most advertised product 7/21-27, behind WAL MART.
Has all this attention translated into sales of HD RADIO units? CLEAR CHANNEL News/Talk WERC-A/BIRMINGHAM reports "HD RADIO sales are still quiet, saying a survey has found that only 24% of respondents knew what an HD radio was. It has been four years since the first high-definition radio hit store shelves, and sales are still miniscule. A total of 300,000 HD radios were sold in 2007 and a projected 1 million units are expected to be sold in 2008, which is a very tiny fraction of the 70 million radios which are sold a year annually."
EDISON VP TOM WEBSTER said, "Programming is a regional crap shoot of varying quality. The industry has to create value through the creation of strong, passionate brands that may be augmented by music, but stand for more than 'one great song after another."
ALL ACCESS has also placed a formal request for more specific HD Radio unit sales with iBIQUITY and the HD RADIO ALLIANCE.