Monday, February 11, 2008

GCap axes DAB, most of XFM

Tough times at GCap, and they've just announced some tough action: the company is closing its remaining DAB-only stations, TheJazz and Planet Rock, and is going to sell its share in DigitalOne (although why it thinks it'll find a buyer for a DAB transmission network it's effectively scuttled isn't clear).

More interestingly, it's going to flog off the XFM analogue licences outside London - the Welsh, Mancunian and Scottish operations - there's little in the current reports about if the idea is to flog them as a going concern to be run as a franchise, or if the plan is for the stations to change into something else.

The statement:

"Today we are announcing a radical but realistic set of measures with the aim of delivering significant improvements to profits and operating margins and positioning GCap Media for long-term sustainable growth," said Hazlitt.

"GCap Media will become a leaner and more dynamic company focused on maximising the revenue and profit potential of five key brands on FM and broadband, the platforms that we believe consumers want and which offer the greatest growth opportunities."

A once mighty beast tamed and hunkering down for hard times ahead, in other words. Let's hope its FM brands aren't, you know, in some sort of terminal decline.

It's not good news for DAB as a commercial innovation, but since nobody listens to anything other than the BBC stations on DAB that might not matter overmuch.


4 comments:

James said...

Drat. I just started listening to theJazz on Friday too (I finally figured out how to work the DAB in the kitchen and it seemed like a nice accompaniment to the week's washing-up). It sounded good, I could've got used to having it on more often.

Isn't this what they were threatening a few months ago, when they were asking for the rules on local content to be relaxed? Basically 'If you don't let us ditch everything but the breakfast shows in favour of syndicated Late Night Love and Myleene Klass, we won't be able to afford to keep DAB populated'? If so, it's interesting timing considering last week's Ofcom ruling.

The Birdsong channel's not closing, is it? That'd be a shame.

al said...

GCrap might be right about the DAB platform, it doesn't offer anything that wireless internet connections can't (mobility I suppose, though this will change with 4G and wifi roaming).

The story here is the loss of Xfm Regions. GCrap bought Xfm in London and ruined it, then jumped on the indie band wagon without really knowing what it was doing. Great to have it in Glasgow (and Edinburgh remember), but it always sounds like a compromise. If you are getting music DJs, let them have a say about the playlist. If you are getting personality presenters, let them loose.

If you don't have either, my number is 07873234153.

Anonymous said...

The *only* station I listen to on DAB is theJazz! It is rather too jazz-lite at times but at least you get to listen to some decent stuff. Or at least you did.

Sarah said...

TheJazz is our default DAB station when the cricket isn't on. The jazz lite often comes peppered with some interesting diversions, and even JamiefuckingCullum is quite bearable, as long as he doesn't sing...

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