And you mentioned plans for future Flow branded products. Can you say anything more about that? What types of devices – for the home, for the car, or portable devices – are we likely to be seeing over the coming year and beyond from Pure?
I can't say too much right now to be honest. I can say that we have a very strong 'connected' roadmap for this year and stronger again next year. By very strong, I mean that we will have a significant number of connected products coming out this year. And not all of them are designed for use in the kitchen, or even in what you would consider to be targeting the traditional radio listening spaces.
I can say that we have no more plans for connected radios in-car at this point. It's an interesting area, and one we have considered, but not for this year. But in terms of kitchen, lounge-based, bed-side products and pretty much anywhere else that you can think of having a connected radio (and one place you probably couldn't think of) we are going to have a number of new connected radios this year.
Not a connected radio for the bathroom?!
Couldn't possibly say [laughs].
A number of people have been fairly critical of the government's recent work with the radio industry Digital Radio Working Group – the general gist of these criticisms being that the DRWG is 'ploughing a lonely furrow' in pushing DAB in the UK, in comparison with the rest of the world.
The UK is by far the biggest digital radio market in the world. (Well, if you go by population and you compare with Denmark, then it's even stevens…). And they're both DAB nations. The only other nation that has a digital radio market in the world is the US. And their digital radio market is entirely funded by venture capitalists, so you currently have billions of dollars being invested in satellite radio over there. Is it a viable business model? No one absolutely knows, because they haven't made a single penny from digital radio in the US yet. The other standard in the US, HD Radio, has sold less than a million units to a nation of over two hundred and fifty million people. That's laughable. It is not even remotely a market.
The only standard where you might argue that the UK has fallen behind is with DAB+, which is one of the DAB standards. The UK is perfectly positioned to take advantage of DAB+ when it makes sense for the UK market. But it absolutely doesn't make sense now and the broadcasters and everybody else have agreed with that. So for now, what we need is to be doing what makes sense to make the DAB market more successful. It's predominantly in media outlets such as The Register or the MediaGuardian where doubts are raised about DAB. But ultimately, if you talk to consumers – and there are well more than nine million DAB owners now in the UK – they are very, very pleased with DAB. They like it a lot, it does what they want, so why would they want anything else?
And from a broadcast perspective – the costs are a little bit high and they need to be addressed. But that has all been spoken about and taken care of in the recent DRWG report. I believe the majority of what needs to be done has been addressed by the DRWG – providing the actions they discuss do take place. From my perspective I would have liked them to have a few more short-term measures to really encourage DAB sales – particularly as the whole consumer electronics market is in a bit of a slump at the moment… that would have been nice to see. But ultimately, that's just me being selfish! Our sales at Christmas were good, though a little bit down on last year. Though given the scale at which everything was down on last year, DAB still had a good Christmas.