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  • Writer's pictureGunnar Garfors

Internet Radio Expensive in France Too

By Ed Schipul under a Creative Commons License.

TDF is a French company that builds and runs networks. All kinds of networks. For both telecom operators and broadcasters. TDF should therefore not have any invested interest in favouring one network over another.

TDF Proves Internet Radio Too Expensive The following is therefore rather interesting. TDF has published a study that looks at the delivery of radio via the Internet compared to via broadcasting. It shows that there are potentially very high costs to broadcasters and listeners alike if radio is to be delivered over the mobile network. Or ‘prohibitively expensive’ as the English translation put it.

The point of the study was to give a realistic estimate of costs involved if a radio station was to migrate from broadcasting its station to distribution via a mobile network such as 3G.

The average person in France listens to radio for 179 minutes a day. (The figure for Norway is 101 minutes, in comparison.) The 179 minute figure is not expected to drop, but TDF created the hypothesis that 39 minutes of that listening would happen via telecom networks.

80% of all radio listening in France is to the 20 biggest radio stations from the big four broadcasters, Radio France, RTL, NRJ and Lagardère. If those 20 stations were to distribute the 39 minutes of radio listening a day via 3G or LTE, it would set them back over $100 million (74 million Euro) a year. That is, on average, five million dollars per year per radio station.

If those costs were passed onto the broadcasters from the telecom operators (and, why wouldn’t they be?), the radio stations would be unprofitable. Unless, of course, the radio stations passed the costs on to you, as a listener. Likelyhood is that listening then would drop, again making the radio stations unprofitable.

Potentially disastrous What if those 39 minutes were not 39 minutes, but the entire 179 minutes? The costs would then not be 101,700,000 American dollars per year anymore, but 467,000,000 given the same pricing.

And keep in mind. No discounts would be given. Rather the contrary, actually. After all, such a situation would be disastrous for the telecom operators as their entire networks would have been taken down. And then some.

The study clearly shows that mobile networks cannot compete against dedicated broadcast transmission systems. Such as DMB/DAB/DAB+, the de facto standard for mobile TV and digital radio.

A digitally broadcasted station has no bandwidth limitations, everyone can be reached in a cost-effective manner. There is no additional cost per new listener. And maybe equally important to public broadcasters, listeners can listen to their radio for free, with neither of them having to stay friends with a gate keeper.

My challenge to TDF is to do a similar study for TV. In the meantime, feel free to look at my earlier calculations done for both TV and radio if all traffic were to go via the Internet. Or read why LTE/4G is hyped.

TDFs study was published eleven months ago but only recently brought to my attention.

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