Strategy Verdict - Orange Liveradio

Orange's decision to launch its Liveradio service, which allows users to listen to hundreds of radio stations via a broadband-enabled device, is timely, given increasing consumer interest in portable internet radios.

Orange Liveradio
Orange Liveradio

Its £100 price tag compares favourably with similar products on the market, such as the Revo Wi-Fi launched last May and the Intempo Daisy and the Pure Vivaldi - both launch shortly - that all retail for around £150.

The appeal for the consumer of such services is that these radio receivers combine a traditional radio's domestic portability with the choice of thousands of radio stations accessed via Wi-Fi broadband.

The status of Wi-Fi as a global broadband standard offers manufacturers of internet radios a huge marketplace that will inevitably lead to lower hardware prices within the next few years.

Although the UK market for internet radios is presently estimated at only 30,000 units per month (roughly the level of DAB receiver sales in 2004), module manufacturer Reciva forecasts that, ultimately, sales could increase to 50 million per annum globally.

The danger for the DAB platform is that consumers might soon judge an internet radio offering thousands of stations more appealing than a DAB radio offering only tens of stations for roughly the same price.

The adoption of the DAB standard in only a limited number of countries (not in the US), combined with the relatively high price of DAB chips, limits the scope for further price falls for DAB radios.

I have been an enthusiastic user of an Orange Liveradio for a year (since its launch in France) and, although the interface initially proved a little cumbersome, the technology will undoubtedly improve.

The Liveradio's availability from Orange's 300 high-street shops, along with three competing internet radio models stocked by Argos, is quietly bringing internet radio to the high street, without the fanfare of DAB's multimillion-pound marketing campaign.

Review by By Grant Goddard, radio analyst, Enders Analysis

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