Core Fresh Hits ha chiuso l'11 gennaio scorso. Era stata lanciata nel 1999. Gcap ha deciso anche per la prossima chiusura del canale Capital Life, creato anch'esso nove anni fa. Che spreco. Nonostante tutto Piggot termina il suo intervento nel segno dell'ottimismo. «Rimosse le barriere [...] forse sarà possibile sfruttare le enormi opportunità che lo spettro trasmissivo digitale libero, mobile, conveniente può portare.» Chissà.
[...] Now the tide has turned, and the radio industry is hurting. As predictions of the threat from on-line began to come true, the money that was needed to fund the evolution of radio simply drained away. Commercial Radio frittered away the rich years by not investing enough in digital product evolution. A vast proportion (95%+) of the money allocated to digital was sucked into appalling infrastructure contracts, which are wholly unwarranted, and do not stand up to close inspection. Those costs became the headlines, and endanger the short-term prospects for the platform. They also took valuable cash away from the product evolution which would ultimately have created new value in radio.
As is often the case, the radio industry now faces having to evolve and re-invent itself at the beginning of a wider economic downturn where money is tight, and pressures to cut costs are enormous. As the time horizons for investment returns get shorter, in part driven by the apparent liquidity that private equity offers, the prospects for evolution are not great.
In the UK at least, the hard times for digital are now. There needs to be a wholesale change in the infrastructure cost of digital to ensure its short-term survival and to put it on a sensible economic footing for the future. If the costs of infrastructure can be realigned to reality, it will remove many of the barriers to genuine new entrants to the market, and to true evolution of the radio product. But once those barriers have been removed, it needs a hearts and minds commitment from the radio industry to create something new, something relevant in today’s media environment that can really exploit the tremendous opportunity that free, mobile, cost-effective, digital broadcast spectrum could bring.