Tech Review 2017

Cost-benefit analysis of FM, DAB, DAB+ and broadband for radio broadcasters and listeners

This article analyses distribution and consumption costs of analogue FM radio, digital radio (such as DAB) and internet radio streamed via unicast.

Open file (pdf, 0.4 MB)

While Norway has replaced FM radio services with DAB+ and Finland has opted entirely for (mobile) broadband, many other countries see mixed use of all three. 

This article studies the economics of these three distribution models. It finds that a traditional broadcast radio model is currently not economically viable over broadband and that digital radio compares favourably with analogue radio - even for the smaller local and regional radio stations and their audiences.

The distribution analysis is based on available information regarding capital expenditure on equipment as well as operational expenditure such as maintenance costs and power consumption. A significant element of this article is an estimate model for the costs of different types of transmission station. The consumer analysis is based on the cost of receiving devices and, where applicable, the cost of network and service access.