The Old Twaddle

Media Daily News put up this post on the new smoke-and-mirrors effort by iBiquity to market its bunk, to the tune of $100 million next year (in trade-outs, no doubt, with the big consolidators who’ve all bought into this get-rich-quick scheme). Author Erik Sass isn’t impressed:

The HD Radio Alliance is nothing if not persistent. The consortium formed by big broadcast radio groups to promote HD radio technology is planning airtime worth more than $110 million on over 650 radio stations across the 100 biggest media markets in the U.S. in 2011.

The news comes despite a difficult economic environment, and follows several years of marketing efforts marked by somewhat ambiguous results.

The HD Radio Alliance claimed that 2010 was successful in terms of consumer awareness and manufacturer and retail partnerships with Apple, Microsoft, Best Buy, Sears, Ford, Hyundai, BMW. The organization did not provide overall sales figures for HD radio sets in 2010 or previous years.

Back in August — Bob Struble, president and CEO of iBiquity, which controls HD radio technology — admitted to Twice that “Broadcasters want to see some more eggs before they take the next step” in converting signals for HD multicasts.

As of the middle of 2010, 2,085 radio stations had converted to HD out of 13,000 stations in the country, equaling 16% of the total. That figure was only slightly up from 2,034 in 2009 and 1,900 in 2008….

In addition, the number of HD radio sets sold outside of cars is growing, but has remained fairly low — increasing from a cumulative total of 200,000 sold by the end of 2006, according to iBiquity, to a cumulative total of “well over 1 million” sold by the beginning of this year, according to Nautel. (More recent data isn’t available.) Overall, roughly 3 million receivers were in use in the U.S. in mid-2010.

That total compares to 9.4 million iPods sold by Apple in the third quarter of 2010 alone, totaling about 275 million iPods sold worldwide to date. On Tuesday, satcaster Sirius XM reported that it has more than 20 million subscribers in the U.S.

That number of HD sets sold doesn’t, of course, take into account those that have been returned as worthless or just trashed. Then there’s the little matter of looming class-action suits…

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3 Responses

  1. Nice surprise this morning – Poland is testing HD Radio and they just got an education:

    1. Poland “radio hd” 1 1.00 00:00:00 100.00% 100.00%

    1. Poland (direct) 5 1.00 00:00:00 100.00% 100.00%

  2. If one checks the FCC database for converted HD Radio stations that number is less than claimed:

    AM-HD: 297
    FM-HD: 1609
    Total: 1906

    http://www.fcc.gov/mb/audio/digital.html

    That number doesn’t take into account the number of stations that have turned off IBOC. Ron pretty much summed up the whole situation. Struble and crew belong on stage, and if it weren’t for the jamming, this would be truly comical.

  3. It’s interesting to watch this. You’ve got to give them credit. Strubel and company has certainly tried a wide variety of gimmicks like this recent one. And they’ve got a perfect record. To date none of them have worked. Now their attention is on things really far out like this one. Ibiquity got their butt kicked making dubious comparisons to satellite radio, with “hidden channels” and tons of good programming. The little diversion into radio with real-time traffic information is in the crapper. His Insignia radio is a bust. Sangean stood him up. AM digital radio is quickly becoming extinct. FM digital isn’t growing (no matter what he says). His company is running with a skeleton staff. His coveted power increase did a big fat nothing. Luxury carmakers have had a real problem with him — who wants to deal with those pesky dropouts anyway. I notice recently he’s been quiet about making far-out claims though. Thank god for the legal system. Pending lawsuits even in the early stages and whether you think they’re valid or not have a way of keeping you quiet.

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