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One of the ongoing debates concerning the overall success of IBOC relates to its acceptance by consumers. Many feel that the promise of improved audio quality alone is insufficient to warrant consumer appeal. While adding interest to broadcasters and a potentially new revenue stream, the addition of data and other services are also not cited as the element that will propel IBOC to consumer acceptance.

Would you pay for an HD Radio receiver if it had more channels of public radio than traditional FM?

The arguments focus on one item that will drive consumers to IBOC: content. Exclusive content has driven cable TV and satellite radio to its success. By providing new and unique content via terrestrial IBOC, it is anticipated that the listeners will embrace the technology.

Unfortunately, programming must appeal to a wide audience to support a station’s efforts. If a station could continue to serve its established audience and create a unique niche audience simultaneously, a new listener base can be served without risking the existing listenership. This will be possible with HD Multicast.

In an In-Stat/MDR survey conducted in December 2004, respondents were asked "Would you pay for an HD Radio receiver if it had more channels of public radio than traditional FM?" While the results do not show a resounding affirmation of the thought that more is better, they show that consumers are at least attracted to the concept of added content.

Source: Digital Radio: Who Is Tuning In? IN0401188ME Dec. 2004, In-Stat, www.instat.com

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