\"Radio is still one of the major forms of mass media and listening activity remains constant over time. In Europe, the average daily listening time is still about 2h30 for European Citizens. Radio also remains a very inclusive medium, with an average weekly reach of 85% in...
\"Radio is still one of the major forms of mass media and listening activity remains constant over time. In Europe, the average daily listening time is still about 2h30 for European Citizens. Radio also remains a very inclusive medium, with an average weekly reach of 85% in Europe or 447 million people. However, listening figures are decreasing, particularly amongst youngsters According to a BBC survey, 48% of the younger listeners (between 15-24 years) would change their listening behaviour if they could connect their mobile device wirelessly with the car. â€œWhen younger people lose the connection to radio, itâ€™ll be hard to get them backâ€ said BBCs Helen Boaden.
So even though radio is still a successful medium, broadcasters and radio stations are facing major challenges, both in terms of audience reach and technological advancements. First of all, FM, while still the workhorse, will most likely not see any significant technical advancement in the future. Because of a lack of integration options into digital platforms (e.g. to time-shift analogue FM Radio would be tricky), thereâ€™s a strong risk that FM radio will remain an analogue island in the digital ocean of modern mobile digital systems. At the same time, first plans are being made to switch off FM signals, with Norway being the first country to plan a nationwide FM switch off in 2017 according to EBU. This will have a dramatic impact on the number of younger people reached by radio.Digital natives are accustomed to rich media experiences, including time shifting and accessing content anywhere and anytime, which standalone FM radio cannot offer. Mobile devices - smartphones and tablets- are omnipresent. Radio must respond to the range of content and functionalities offered by todayâ€™s mobile devices (social media, streaming services, podcasts, etc.), in order to remain attractive.
Second, the integration of service features in the radio world is often not satisfying. Radios are radios and IP radios are IP radios. Both are often sold together as a single device, but a real integration of both has never happened. Regular IP radios do not deliver the same \"\"super easy\"\" experience as a standard DAB/FM device, which simply plays radio after unboxing. IP radios require IP connections/aggregators and permanent updates of IP streaming URLs for radio stations. While itâ€™s correct that broadcasters deliver social media services on their regular web sites, these services are often not or are poorly integrated into the context of the currently perceived radio program or into the context of the brand and intended target group. Today\'s production systems and workflows are not or at least poorly suited for an inherent hybrid content offering (supporting the integration of social media, feedback or personalisation). Permanently enabled return channels promise heaven for advertisers and consumer/audience research but on the other hand are seen as a threat to the anonymous consumption of radio services. Social media interaction is mostly not properly integrated into the user experience and happens on external platforms (e.g. on social networks such as Facebook). Subsequently, the external platform provider can exploit the generated user data, but the actual content provider or broadcaster is mostly cut off from the added value that is created.
The HRADIO project demonstrates the vast potential of a hybrid service model using broadband connections and radio broadcast signalling and how this can revolutionise radio itself.\"
In the first 12 months of HRADIO, the foundations have been laid for implementing prototypes and developing Minimal Viable Products which 1) show the power of hybrid radio in complementing traditional broadcasting and pairing it to the most attractive features of on-demand delivery, 2) respond to the need of listeners, radio professionals and the hardware and software industry and 3) are feasible with the smart combination, further development and integration of the required technical components.
The first assignment of the consortium was to operationalize the concept of Hybrid Radio -which, in its broadest sense, theoretically encompasses every combination of broadcast and on-demand radio content. This exercise was done thoroughly: first 47 possible scenarios were generated in ten different categories. These were analysed and clustered to 29, after which a ranking was made by end-users and the consortium. Moreover, the use cases were checked specifically for their industry relevance. Subsequently, they were mapped onto user and technical requirements, grouped and distributed over the two first pilot phases of the project. Finally, for operational piloting purposes, they were translated into seven feature sets which each needed to be tested with users separately. These feature sets are: content selection and presentation; menu information (at the stage of service selection); recommendations (for now focusing on recommending radio services); voice control; guaranteed signal quality (i.e. signal following across DAB, IP, FM); and channel screen (i.e. the design of an enriched UI with multi-source service information and interactivity).
Meanwhile, the project carried out the necessary technical work to enable the selected scenarios and the features required for these scenarios. For doing this, the first year work focused on the fast build-up a set of libraries and tools, which will enable the project partners to make use of broadcast technology (basically DAB) on mobile and fixed Android platforms including a first version of the HRADIO metadata platform. To do this, a set of high level system requirements were first derived. In parallel, an extensive research on the current state of the art was made.
Impact criterion 1: to develop new services as a consequence of the convergence of broadband, broadcast and social media
The first pilot phase has started in M13 (September 2018) in Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom. In the first pilot, also labeled the lab phase (see below), 8 user scenarios translated into 6 products are tested: 3 user scenarios that concern visualisation and added content (i.e. â€˜lyricsâ€™, â€˜logosâ€™ and â€˜what is it aboutâ€™); 2 user scenarios that deal with personalisation of content (i.e. â€˜music filterâ€™ and â€˜streaming meets broadcastâ€™); 1 user scenario based around time shifting (i.e. â€˜stay informedâ€™); 2 user scenario concerning audio and reception quality (i.e. â€˜guaranteed audioâ€™ and â€˜signal qualityâ€™).
After pilot 1, the outcomes will be discussed and will provide input for the second pilot stage.
Impact criterion 2: To move closer to a fully personalised and interactive user experience
Impact criterion 3: To increase the use of ICT technologies in the Media industry
From the start of the project we have asked real end-users and professional users to evaluate the scenarios created by the consortium. So far, end-users and professional users have been involved on four distinct occasions during the first year of the project.
Impact criterion 4: Solutions that can clear barriers for the success of the Digital Single Market from the content and media perspective
More info: http://www.hradio.eu.