Antennas from Thuringia had been a household name since the early years of the GDR. Today, the antennas of Antennentechnik Bad Blankenburg (ATBB) are installed on the roofs of cars, trucks, mobile homes, buses and on official vehicles. With the introduction of DAB+ in Europe and the switch from FM to DAB+ in Scandinavia, the company from Thuringia has received an economic push. Meinungsbarometer.info spoke with the managing director of ATBB, Dr. Michael Weber, about Norway and DAB+.
Did you benefit from the roll-out in Norway?
Dr. Michael Weber: In Norway, we entered the market very successfully via Norwegian and Swedish distributors. We incorporated the switch-off scenario into our planning at an early stage and prepared ourselves for it. Since the beginning of 2017, the distributors have filled their warehouses to be prepared for the onslaught. Nevertheless, large quantities of DAB+ items had to be continuously replenished, which we were happy to do. But it showed once again that a shutdown scenario requires a project plan because the requests came in bursts.
What conclusions do you draw from the experiences in Norway for a roll-out for Germany?
If you extrapolate the number of antennas or accessories that we have supplied to Norway via our sales department and if we take into account that approximately 5 million people live in Norway, then with over 80 million people in Germany, you have to assume that the roll-out intensity is almost 20 times higher, taking into account the corresponding vehicle statistics. As important as a shutdown scenario is because it allows planning security for investments, a schedule with at least 3 years' lead time is also important, because this amount of changeover requirement cannot take place uncoordinated in the market, and the resulting friction losses in the supply chains must be avoided. Because the equipment rates in the passenger car mass market, which are still in the low 2-digit percentage range, indicate an immensely high conversion requirement.
What does the development of DAB+ mean for your company?
I will give you an impressive example: In 2016, the share of our DAB+ products sold compared to all products sold was approximately 13%. In 2017, the DAB+ products were already at 38%. There is no question that the development of DAB+ has given our own development a strong boost.