Before you decide for or against switching off FM, read these arguments.

How can you reduce customer losses?
With the most user-friendly solution.
[Read more]

If you want to retain your customers in the long term, you have to focus first and foremost on their needs. Not the most technically or economically optimal, but the most user-friendly solution is the one that changes the least for the customer and at the same time retains proven advantages.

In contrast to other FM replacement solutions, FMplus changes by far the least for your customers, i.e. practically nothing at all. In addition, the handling is incredibly simple. Simply plug in the adapter and off you go! No audio cables, no scan, no new finding and saving of transmitters, no additional remote control on the table, etc. Everything stays the same. This reduces the risk of customer losses and saves massive support effort.

How can DOCSIS 3.1 be introduced as soon as possible and without problems?
Among the solutions there are enormous differences for expenses and risks.
[Read more]

A virtually new technology for the public, such as DVB-C for radio, must first be communicated at great expense before FM can be switched off and DOCSIS 3.1 introduced. Even after 20 years, DVB-C has hardly established itself for radio. Why should this succeed in the short term? An advertising campaign for DVB-C contradicts the official OFCOM campaign (previously CHF 9.5 million), according to which radio is moving – to DAB+ (and not DVB-C).

DAB+ Cable would be massively easier to communicate, but this would also require considerable effort. The effort required to introduce a new system is often massively underestimated: in 2005 Swisscom tried to establish DVB-H (bluewin-TV mobile) with a campaign worth millions. Despite an expensive and highly professional advertising campaign, DVB-H was completely crushed.

The change from FM to FMplus, on the other hand, can be communicated to the public very easily and at relatively little cost, since almost everyone knows and uses FM. Therefore FMplus as only system makes the brisk introduction possible of DOCSIS 3,1, without causing your customers switchovers.

Loyal customers are quiet but extremely valuable.
What needs do they have?
[Read more]

FM reception has proven its worth for decades, and loyal radio listeners want to continue using it. They hate cumbersome innovations, annoying scans and often need outside help. These customers usually have a connected audio system and want to keep it that way for the future. Not only older customers, but also those who have little technical affinity can connect practically all audio systems with FM or FMplus for the next 10-15 years, because the FM function will be integrated as standard in all new audio systems for a very long time to come*.

Don’t risk losing loyal customers.

In contrast to other FM replacement solutions, FMplus changes by far the least for your customers, namely practically nothing at all. In addition, the handling is incredibly simple. Simply plug in the adapter and off you go! No audio cables, no scan, no new finding and saving of transmitters, no additional remote control on the table, etc. Everything stays the same. This reduces the risk of customer losses and saves massive support effort.

Radio usage and volume
The most common type of use: DAB+ and FM mixed (57%).

By far the most people listen to the radio at home – often without being aware of it – from the cable network.

Source: GfK / DigiMig / OFCOM

*see below “What are the customer needs for the next few years?”

Radio and TV consumption are completely different.
What are the most important differences and why are they important?
[Lesen Sie weiter]

Your customers usually use both radio and TV. However, many customers are not even aware that radio reception comes from the cable socket. The audience, however, uses radio reception completely differently from TV reception.

The main differences are:

  • Around 90% of the population listens to the radio every day for more than 15 minutes, very often at home and very often by cable, without knowing this. About one third of the people listen to FM at home. This to a relevant extent from cable.
  • The audience practically never listens to radio with a time delay, and a replay function would hardly be used. With TV such functions are important, with radio there are other needs.
  • “Zapping” is very rare, most people usually use 1-3 and rarely 5-8 different radio programs. The VHF programmes on the cable networks probably cover about 90-95 % of the needs.
  • Today’s FM quality is sufficient, HD or UHD, as with TV, are not an issue. With the very popular DAB+, the audio quality for stationary reception is usually worse than with FM.

Many radios are also located in places where there is no screen and little space (shops, workshops, other workplaces and in living rooms such as kitchens, rooms, hobby rooms).

Fact: Radio reception is much more traditional than TV consumption.

FM replacement is a strategic decision.
What should you know and consider?
[Read more]

DVB-C is a good addition to the radio offering, but not recommended as the sole FM substitute. DVB-C as FM replacement makes sense from a purely technical point of view. However, the system has hardly gained any importance in radio usage and is simply unthinkable for a short-term establishment as the main broadcasting station for radio programmes. This technology has not been able to assert itself for around 20 years. How should it be possible to establish it as a VHF replacement within a short period of time?

For every system that is to replace VHF, the introduction and acceptance of the audience should be tested thoroughly before a nationwide change is implemented. The risks should not be underestimated.

With FMplus, cable networks can continue to offer FM to their customers even after the FM switch-off (planned for 2024). In this way they receive an additional – later very exclusive – service for their customers.

In addition to the costs for promotion and communication, the simplicity of installation and user comfort are also very important from the customer’s point of view.
This is where FMplus clearly has the most advantages of all systems. In addition, the extent and risk of communication costs are lowest with FMplus.

Are there customer needs for the next few years?
Various solutions compared.
[Read more]

DVB-C radio: Has not established itself after around 20 years of operation and is hardly used. DVB-T (SRG SSR) is now discontinued, DVB-H has been crushed.
DVB-C and DVB-S have always only been successful for TV.

DAB+: Complex OFCOM campaign (previous subcampaigns: 9.5 million) running, system established. The Swiss population has voluntarily purchased 4.5 million devices.

FM replacement with FMplus: little communication effort, everyone knows FM.
As the only network in your region, you can continue to offer unlimited FM from the cable socket even after the planned FM switch-off (2024).
As no country other than Switzerland and Norway has yet announced a VHF switch-off date, VHF will remain the most important mode of reception in the vast majority of countries for many years to come.

Audio systems are mostly manufactured in the Far East in millions of units. Since there is no FM switch-off scenario at all in Europe, most new Hi-Fi devices will still be able to receive FM/UKW for at least 10-15 years. Devices without FM reception would only have a very limited market. FM reception is a standard function which is practically irrelevant today in terms of the manufacturing costs of the devices.

In Switzerland there are about 8-12 million VHF devices today.

Use FM switch-off for customer bonding.
How a problem can become an advantage for you and your customers.
[Read more]

If you decide to offer your customers an FMplus device free of charge or at special conditions as a loyalty bonus, you can in return offer a subscription extension (or a cancellation stop, e.g. for 24 months). This way you keep your customers and they stay happy for the time being.

Preserve your unique selling proposition.
Offer more than your IPTV competitors
[Read more]

Without FMplus you lose today’s important advantage of simple, good and uncomplicated radio reception and offer only the same as IPTV competitors. Whether DVB-C radio or IP radio, both are almost the same for customers: both are new technologies that bring with them annoying changes. Their previous unique selling point – the previous, good and simple radio reception with existing or new devices – is lost. UPC had switched off the FM range in a test area. However, the test was quickly broken off on the basis of experience, and since then it has clearly distanced itself from a FM switch-off in the near future.

All old and new home appliances can receive FM. This will remain so for a long time to come, especially as FM is even being expanded in many European countries – including Germany, for example.

Are there differences between Germany and Switzerland?
Yes, and very substantially.
[Read more]

Germany and Switzerland are not comparable when it comes to cable radio: According to the 2017 Digitization Report of the German Media Authorities, FM is only used by 2.7 percent of cable radio stations in Germany. This has been the case for a very long time and is hardly surprising when you see the mostly meager channel lists, often with just under a dozen channels. These are mostly the same programmes that can be received from the air with a throwing antenna. In addition, cable networks in Germany very often have very little competition. A disgruntled customer can often hardly switch, because otherwise he may not even have Internet access.

The situation in Switzerland is quite different: Here the competition situation is very pronounced, and most cable networks have for many years offered a very wide selection with often around 40-50 channels, most of which cannot be received from the air, including many foreign-language channels. These programmes have been carefully developed over the years to meet the needs of the market and cover around 90-95% of the needs. These are particularly important in our multilingual population.

Conclusion: FM cable radio is massively less important in Germany than in Switzerland.

Für einen Kabelbetreiber, welcher insbesondere seine treue Kundschaft behalten will, wäre es sehr unklug, eine UKW-Kabel-Abschaltung zu erwägen. Dies, zumal nun dank FMplus das DOCSIS 3.1 trotzdem eingeführt werden kann.

Roger Kälin
Geschäftsführer ggsnet Schwängimatt

Gesamter Bericht (PDF)

Aus technischer Sicht gibt es absolut keine Bedenken die FMplus-Lösung einzusetzen.

Konrad Zemp
Systemspezialist WWZ Telekom AG
Headend-Team der WWZ/DCG

Gesamter Bericht (PDF)

Read the article in the June/2018 issue of InfoDigital. A good report with facts and statements about FMplus.

Read the full report (PDF)