DTS to acquire HD Radio developer iBiquity
Yesterday the radio industry awoke to a surprise with the announcement that audio solutions company DTS, Inc., is acquiring digital radio pioneer iBiquity Digital Corporation for approximately $172 million. iBiquity, the developer of HD Radio technology for the AM and FM radio bands, has seen its technology adopted by over 2,300 radio broadcasters in the U.S. and all major auto manufacturers across more than 200 models of vehicles. HD Radio signals reach the vast majority of radio listeners in the U.S. as seen in the coverage map below:
In its press announcement, DTS indicates that “…This transaction extends our strategy of delivering a personalized, immersive and compelling experience across the network-connected entertainment value chain, and complements our existing suite of technology and content delivery solutions while enabling us to strengthen our position in the large automotive OEM market. Consumers have come to expect a higher quality sound experience in their car, and we believe there is a tremendous opportunity for DTS to capitalize on the upgrade to HD Radio technology as cars are increasingly equipped with screens and advanced entertainment systems. We are thrilled to welcome the talented iBiquity team to the DTS family.”
This is the latest in a string of positive developments for iBiquity this year. Other recent advances include the expansion of the HD Radio Ad network to 60 markets in less than a year; a continued adoption of HD Radio receivers as standard equipment by auto makers, most recently by Subaru; and, the unveiling of the HD Radio monitoring network, focused on improving the quality of HD Radio broadcast operations and the consumer’s listening experience.
DTS, founded in 1990, is perhaps most widely known for its premium quality, discrete multi-channel digital sound technology for cinema. According to DTS, every major film studio in the United States uses DTS multi-channel digital sound, and virtually all major Hollywood feature films are released with soundtracks in the DTS format. DTS technology also plays an important role in the home theater environment, with many consumer AVRs including the company’s technology for multichannel audio reproduction. The acquisition of HD Radio by DTS follows an earlier acquisition, back in 2012, of SRS Labs, a leader in audio processing and enhancement. The iBiquity acquisition also gives DTS a greater foothold in the automotive market, where they have not had substantial influence to date. The two companies have similar business models, in that they are both primarily intellectual property licensors.
No doubt the radio broadcasting industry is eager to see how the iBiquity acquisition unfolds, and how it impacts the HD Radio listening experience.