The new portal will remain free for users and producers of Flemish radio content.
On the occasion of Belgium’s Digital Radio Week (Week van de Digitale Radio/Semaine de la radio digitale) Nov. 15-21, both Digitale Radio Vlaanderen and maRadio.be — respectively, the Flemish and Belgian French digital radio interest groups — reported substantial digital radio listening growth and set up campaigns to further promote the medium.
Giant leap ahead in Flanders
According to figures collected by survey agency Ipsos, appointed by the Flemish government, 41% of the total radio listening volume is via a digital platform; 19% via DAB+. In 2018, that figure was only 3%
“The corona crisis made people tune in to digital radio channels,” commented Benjamin Dalle, Flemish media minister. “The Flemish government continues to support digital radio listening like streaming and DAB+. We provide support for local radio stations on Radioplayer.be, and I’m drawing up a frequency plan to allow the roll-out of local DAB+ stations.”
Els Van de Sijpe, VRT radio and audio manager, added that digital listening is gaining momentum. “We’ve recently added new digital channels alongside our main brands, allowing us to capitalize on their successful launch.”
DPG Media pioneered digital radio two years ago when the group launched the 100% digital-only rock station Willy. “The results of the recent Ipsos survey reveal that an increasing audience embraces the digital radio initiatives,” underlined Dirk Lodewijkcx, director-general of TV, streaming and radio with DPG Media. “And for both Qmusic and Joe, we use our FM channels to market and promote our digital stations.”
“Nostalgie was one of the first stations to launch, in addition to the FM platform, several digital channels. The newest in our portfolio is Nostalgie Extra Vlaams, the country’s only digital channel focusing on a Flemish language repertoire. We plan to continue taking our responsibility to help digitize the radio market in Flanders,” stated Tom Klerkx, general director of Mediahuis Radio.
In the Flemish part of the country, Digitale Radio Vlaanderen is publishing a series of photographs of singers Metejoor and Grace Khuabi and presenter Tatyana Beloy, each of whom is pictured in a different musical mood and style, promoting listening to digital radio.
Boost for DAB+ and Radioplayer.be
For the 3rd edition of the “Semaine de la radio digitale”, maRadio.be has gathered the French-speaking radio stations around a DAB+ and digital radio campaign. MaRadio.be is a unique project in Belgian radio history, teaming up both public and commercial stations to promote the digital audience of radio.
With 16 new local radio DAB+ stations (11 in the Liège area and five in the Hainaut region), the south of Belgium enters the digital local radio era with improved coverage aimed at new audiences.
During Digital Radio Week, participating stations will offer DAB+ sets in various audience competitions. MaRadio.be has also booked advertisements on radio, TV and social media focusing on the benefits of DAB+, such as extended program content and its ‘green’ credentials: DAB+ consumes less electricity and uses fewer antennas.
A significant development for Radioplayer.be is the introduction of a new version of Google assistant. The Radioplayer platform now includes some 250 Belgian stations, a completely reworked survey of the stations, and the Google assistant is launched by saying, “OK Google, parler avec Radioplayer.”
In addition to an earlier launch on Android TV, Radioplayer is also available on Apple TV and, in the weeks to come, Amazon’s intelligent assistant Alexa.
Finally, the V6 version of Radioplayer for both iOS and Android will be available before the end of November.