DASH Conference Opening Day Coverage Shines Light On Growing Health Of Radio Usage And Symbiotic Relationship With Cars
October 23, 2013 at 3:03 PM (PT)
The DASH CONFERENCE, sponsored by JACOBS MEDIA, RADIO INK and VALERIE SHUMAN opened to a full house at the WESTIN HOTEL in DETROIT. You can follow the goings-on via TWITTER at #DashAudio.
A video took the audience from a car radio in 1998 through innovations such as satellite radio, HD and wireless. After that, in her Opening remarks, SHUMAN CONSULTING GROUP Principal VALERIE SHUMAN highlighted the success of bringing together industries to solve the common problem. "We all want to figure out the way to serve this new consumer via the connected dash," she said.
RADIO INK Publisher ERIC RHOADES spoke of the need to get the industry focused on the perceptions of consumers, online radio and to foster the continuing relationship of radio and the car through collaboration.
FRED JACOBS spoke of his longstanding goal to bring a radio convention to DETROIT, deciding "the best way was to do it ourselves" to look under the hood of this natural partnership between radio and the car.
Battle For The Dashboard
PAUL JACOBS brought the sessions to a start by introducing Automotive Keynoter JULIUS MARCHWICKI, Global Product Manager/SYNC AppLink, FORD MOTOR CO. "Radio and cars have been in lockstep since the early days of radio being introduced to cars, which my best guess was in 1933," MARCHWIKI said. "We want to discuss how mobile technology has changed the driving and radio experience.
"FORD continues to open the highways to mankind and the highway is now not just asphalt and concrete, but now and bits and bytes," he continued. "There are on billion smartphones in use in 2012 and 63 billion apps have been downloaded. And another billion smartphones will be in use in the next year.
He noted, "46% of young adults prefer access to a cellphone over a car; 75% feel it's important to connect devices to the car. So many more young adults use phone touchscreens while driving, which is scary for us as we try and bring connected technology to the car. And one of the things this has done has introduced to great new companies and partners such as JACAPPS and GREATER MEDIA for developing all of these new individual radio apps that are available on FORD cars. We need to make sure the apps are able to deliver to the expectations of consumers."
MARCHWICKI also encouraged those present to develop apps to be used in the FORD DEVELOPER PROGRAM. "The billions of apps and devices are the high-volume market -- and that's where the future is."
David Field: Radio Stays Strong
ENTERCOM Pres./CEO DAVID FIELD was next with the Broadcaster Keynote; he discussed the unprecedented amount of change that has taken place in radio. "In the 1990s, the iPOD, satellite radio and the Internet had changed the landscape. Everyone predicted that radio was dead. It was called a dinosaur and a fossil. And now 20 years later we see those forecasts are not accurate. More people listen to radio than ever: 242 million Americans listen to radio each week," referring to EDISON RESEARCH's LARRY ROSIN's findings that "audio use is booming.
"In a world where there is booming audio consumption, radio is the big winner, while there are many others which fragment the pie," FIELD added. citing 2"3% say that they listen to radio more, 58% same, and 19% say less. Radio is still the dominant reach medium for 18-34 adults. Broadcast radio still has 92.4% of audio listening, and PANDORA has 4.2% and Internet the remainder. PANDORA generates 62 billion ad impressions while radio generates 37 trillion add impressions yearly."
FIELD also pointed out that radio has so many advantages: "Radio informs and entertains; it offers companionship; it's turned to in times of tragedy. We raise billions for charity. No other medium can do all of this."
"We are all involved in improving the user interface and the experience. NEXTRADIO is a game changer ... it provides a programming guide for local stations and enhances the advertising opportunity as well. Radio is the world's most popular medium."
He went on to compare TV's decline at the hands of DVR, which allows users to skip commercials and that their audience has decline by 50% in the last decade. "Radio stands apart and broadcast radio continues to thrive."
Next up was the Executive Roundtable with ENTERTAINMENT RADIO NETWORK CEO ALAN TAYLOR moderating this session.
GENERAL MOTORS Dir./Product Strategy and Infotainment, Global Connected Consumer GREG ROSS asserted, "A lot of folks have discovered FM and then satellite and these technologies, which is why we are adding high-speed connectivity to stretch that technology over time, to learn and explore this technology.
"We need to open your eyes and use our great partnerships and to move forward," added GREATER MEDIA Chairman/CEO PETER SMYTH. "We need to have a positive dialogue and that involves ease of purchase. We have to get into time shifting of audio and the power of personalities ... these are powerful moments that drive our industry."
FORD MOTOR CO. Global Product Manager/SYNC AppLink JULIUS MARCHWICKI noted, "We are trying to enhance the purchase process and not be stuck at the dealership on how to use all of this new technology. I was very impressed with the NEXTRADIO demo I saw last week. It's going to be very important for broadcast radio, in feeding back consumer habits to advertisers."
"There is a tendency to focus only on the technology," ENTERCOM Pres./CEO DAVID FIELD said. "Most of us never learned how to program a VCR, and we need to make the systems easy to use. Whether its NEXTRADIO, HD technology, or individual apps" we are not in the game of picking winners and losers but being involved with them all."
TAYLOR asked about the type of partners they want to work with. OSS spoke of a non-silo approach: "We encourage the creation of apps and content, so we no longer have to pick this technology over that technology. The content and apps need to be meaningful and easy to use. We are trying to get this content to consumers easier without developing individual platforms. It all sits on one platform.
JULIUS said, "We like for developers to post their ideas in public at developer.ford.com and we will respond publicly."
FIELD added, "Content is critical and at the end of the day content has to be compelling. We have to be great at everything."
SMYTH concluded, "The collaborative partnership with the auto companies will be critical for everyone's future."
Following a break, an Audience Roundtable explored the biggest opportunities and challenges facing in-car "audiotainment" today, to help build the "big picture" with colleagues from across the ecosystem. Among the suggested topics:
* How do the people you know use media in the car?
* What's the most surprising/interesting thing you just heard from the executive talks?
* What are the biggest opportunities in connected car audiotainment for your business?
* What are the biggest challenges in connected car audiotainment for your business?
Next up was "Breaking News: Part One," which discussed the latest developments in delivering audio content to the connected car from the folks who are making it happen today. Greater Media Chairman/CEO PETER SMYTH discussed "Radio Innovation" by saying, "Innovation is at the heart of this conference. STEVE JOBS said, 'It's the difference between a leader and a follower'."
SMYTH spoke of GREATER MEDIA's online consumption having jumped 300% in the last year. "We want to have a seamless, safe and expanded in-car experience for radio. I propose a working group to go beyond this conference ... to share with one another from all partners to clarify and super-charge our growth. Continue to engage and explore together. Challenge the status quo and ignite change."
So what's new in radio today? And what is radio "radio" today? Moderator BRAD HILL, VP/Managing Editor of RAIN ENTERPRISES, led the discussion to learn about the latest audio content platforms, technologies, and standards evolving in radio, inside and outside of the car. EMMIS Pres./Business Traffic Consortium and SVP/Chief Technology PAUL BRENNER, ESPN Lead Engineer/Digital Audio Products BLAIR CULLEN, CLIP INTERACTIVE EVP/Chief Revenue Officer BILL FREUND, TRITON DIGITAL Chief Strategy Officer PATRICK REYNOLDS and iBIQUITY Pres./CEO BOB STRUBLE were present.
CULLEN spoke of tracking where the listeners come from and spoke not only of ESPN's platform. but of SLACKER, STITCHER and others, as part of their success. "It's not all about a tower, so we are now ESPN AUDIO as it better speaks to the future. Personalization of the radio experience is going to be very important to our future."
"I've been looking at our spectrum and efficiencies and create businesses that are more future proof," BRENNER said. "Radio is a curated audio programming. We need to use newer technology to keep us relative. In three years, accessibility will continue to be vital as well as the factor of how much it costs consumers to use radio in terms of bandwidth."
"We are focused on connecting audience to audio to advertising," REYNOLDS noted. "Radio is interactive and out front when it needs to be and can also be effective in the background. It's a curated medium and comes across many platforms. The future will be won by folks who view themselves as publishers not stations. ESPN is one of the best at this, as is NPR and so has DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS. Interactivity and being ubiquitous are key. Voice control will be key for the connected dash."
"There are no ostriches in this room -- we all realize what we need to do -- but 90% of the content comes from radio and how we connect and expand is our challenge," FREUND, observed. "Radio consumers don't care how they get it -- they just want it. We need to provide it across all platforms. Radio is emotion and radio is compelling as it moves you. We need to encourage with content delivered how they want and when they want. Interactivity is the key. Safety and simplicity are going to be important for the connected dash. Simple and safe."
"We've focused for a long time with the auto industry as we have known the importance of it to the future, as we realize that digital is where radio needs to be," STRUBLE said. "I have five kids and they are comfortable with radio and their own music lists. They don't care about the definition of radio. They just want to be able to engage. To get a consistent user experience we need have a way to present a more uniform platform."
The Connected Car
Moderator ROGER LANCTOT, Associate Director/Global Automotive Practice, STRATEGY ANALYTICS, lead the next session about Audio In The Connected Car. On hand were folks who have already landed on the new "audiotainment" screen -- what it took to get there, what they’ve learned, and where they see it going from here: PANDORA VP/Automotive Business Development GEORGE LYNCH, HARMAN CLOUD PLATFORM Dir./Sales Engineering RAHUL MISRA and TUNEIN INC. VP/Business Development CARL J. ROHLING, ESQ.
"At HARMAN, I help make the radios that go into BMW, GM and others," MISRA: said. "AHA is a platform that's on 13 car platforms now and our core belief is to follow the lead of radio -- to follow the paradigm of making it easy. But each OEM wants something different. The big challenge is to make these systems safe and useful, which involves a lot of conversations with NTSA. They offer guidelines, versus rulemaking, so far. One thing we need to stress: Data plans for cars should be bundled into current user plans, not be separate charges."
"We are a global service and OEMs are just one distribution source -- but a very important distribution point and the most complex.," ROHLING noted. "There are no standards. Radio needs TUNEIN to democratize the delivery platform. We have a big usage on TESLA vehicles and it's simple -- no pairing and no phone. Push a button and it is used. We have made it simple and the more simple, the better the result. We drive value for broadcasters and push the concept of hybrid radio -- let the platform fetch the programming from any number of sources.
"I saw the initial integration of PANDORA into the connected dash, and we work with a number of OEM partners," LYNCH said. "There is never going to be one standard platform. We offer a phone-based solution. It should have the feel of turning on your FM radio -- as soon as you have to go through two or three screens you make complex and potentially less safe. My family plugs in their phones -- the dealers and OEMs need to be educated to a one-touch solution. People are fearful or lazy about pairing phones. This needs to be simpler. And we only serve audio ads, no visuals. We have no revenue sharing in place."