At 11.11 AM today, Norway became the first country in the World to go all digital and switch off FM.
Taking advantage of new distribution enabled by the switchover, Bauer Media has expanded its national services from four to eight channels. New launches Norske Pop, Topp 40 and Vinyl will significantly expand listening choice. A fourth launch will be revealed in coming weeks.
As broadcaster of iconic Norwegian radio service Radio Norge, Bauer Media was at the centre of ceremonies in the northern town of Bodo today alongside public broadcaster NRK and commercial rival P4 Group to mark the beginning of the planned, regionally phased switchover which extends across 2017.
Around 70% of listening in Norway is now digital and all broadcasters are confident that the combination of the certainty of FM switch off; DAB's improved signal and availability in tunnels (important in a mountainous country); and most importantly, the offer of increased content - more radio - will stimulate rapid conversion.
Bauer is hugely invested in digital broadcasting, and as Europe's leading commercial broadcaster is seeing strong growth across all of our European radio businesses : from the UK to Poland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Slovakia.
The digital transition in Norway is a global first and creates an opportunity for Bauer to further extend choice for listeners and grow both our reach and revenues. As in the UK, digital has unleashed exciting new innovation and creativity into the Norwegian market.
Digital radio is making strong progress across Europe beyond the UK. Switzerland has confirmed a switch over between 2020- 2024. In the UK, the Government is working with the industry to secure the digital future for radio. And we have a leading position in digital radio with 56% of our listening on digital platforms and a strong portfolio of digital commercial radio stations.