HFCC - International Broadcasting Delivery

Content Delivery Developments

Audiovisual media is the most rapidly changing segment of industry. This is impacting on the traditional programme delivery methods of radio and television, both domestic and international. The digital revolution that started about 20 years ago has changed the way media content is produced and also the way it is being consumed. The habits of listeners and viewers - or consumers - have changed dramatically too. Digital delivery - so-called broadband - is widely considered as the leading technology for the future. But there is also other evidence: "Terrestrial broadcasting in many countries is still, and will remain in the future, the main way to guarantee universal access to radio and TV content for fixed, mobile and portable devices. No other single platform can replicate these benefits." This was the conclusion of the experts of the European Broadcasting Union in a debate on radio spectrum policy in 2010. A more recent survey conducted in Europe concluded that media consumers would gain the maximum benefit in the future by the combination of terrestrial transmissions and IP based platforms, offering the full range of all technologies. Hybrid solutions, consisting of radio technologies complemented by broadband services, are expected to be implemented.

Unfortunately, there is no in depth debate yet about the future of international broadcasting. In the present rush to embrace new digital platforms, decision-makers have been moving funding away from terrestrial shortwave broadcasting. Yet they are frequently unaware of the properties of the individual platforms and even of the existence and needs of different segments of their audience.

The palette of technologies used for content distribution has become varied and the number of ways of delivering content keeps increasing. Consumers are unable to make use of them all at a specific point in time. The choice depends increasingly on their context situation, e.g. location, personal preference, social position, availability of a device, etc. It is therefore wrong to exclude one technology - traditional radio broadcasting, for example - just because the funding is limited and there is a rush to embrace new methods of distribution.

Exclusive parts of the radio spectrum have been assigned globally to shortwave broadcasting and they are expected to stay in use as a preferred way of receiving radio content by some listeners. The decrease of wireless distribution of TV, domestic and international broadcasting, and even of printed media does not mean that these distribution methods are threatened with a complete extinction. In specific context situations, such as natural disasters, periods of social unrest, electricity blackouts, deliberate communication shut-downs, or in developing regions, there is no other equally effective alternative to radio distribution.

There is an interesting sideline to the current reduction of radio broadcasting: International broadcast bands are still overloaded and the reductions are in fact improving listening conditions there. Frequencies are not individually allocated, and the vacated channels can be taken up freely and immediately by other users. Some broadcasters have already started enlarging their radio presence and may become very dominant soon. The number of frequencies is limited. In contrast with the Internet a radio channel does not face the constantly growing competition of the vast number of media sources and other Internet attractions.

What's New

[12-Sep-2014] - B14 Sofia plenary and GOE minutes

[11-Sep-2014] - DRM Presentation by Calvin Carter of Continental Electronics plus DRM xHE-AAC Demo video

[4-Sep-2014] - B14 co-ordinated data snapshot

[19-Aug-2014] - B14 ITU data

[7-Aug-2014] - B14 tentative data snapshot. Old data uploaded for some FMOs. Read more in the restricted area

[14-Jul-2014] - B14 upload opened

[18-Jun-2014] - The first batch of IRDR QSL cards is about to be air-mailed

[4-Jun-2014] - The Jakarta Trial of International Radio for Disaster Relief (IRDR)

[23-May-2014] - Upload application upgrade, A14 snapshot, B13 closed

[1-Apr-2014] - A14 data snapshot

[10-Mar-2014] - Comment on SW usage - reply to BBG

[28-Feb-2014] - A14 data snapshot

[18-Feb-2014] - A14 GoE Minutes and Target Areas Definition proposal on the newly created Technical Reference page

[5-Feb-2014] - A14 Plenary Minutes

[3-Feb-2014] - B14 Sofia webpage

[30-Jan-2014] - A14 Co-ordinated Data snapshot

[9-Jan-2014] - A14 List of Participants

[8-Jan-2014] - A14 Snapshot as of 7 January. Converted A13/B13 data temporarily entered for missing schedules - will be removed again

[15-Dec-2013] - A14 upload opened, new version of upload application - pls report any problems

[9-Dec-2013] - A14 upload will be opened at the end of this week. Please note that standard Language codes become mandatory

[3-Dec-2013] - Just received: delayed Letter of Invitation - A14 Conference

[1-Nov-2013] - SB (A14 preparatory) meeting minutes

Archive of Earlier News Items

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