Why The Connected Car Is A Really Big Deal For Radio
June 21, 2016
When I joined Jacobs Media as their Digital Dot Connector a year ago, I thought I was well aware of all the challenges that the radio broadcasting industry faced: the rise of the streaming services, the increased focus on ROI by advertisers, displacement by smartphones, etc. But there was one challenge I was embarrassingly unaware of:
The Connected Car.
For as long as anybody can remember, automobiles have had a radio smack dab in the center of the dashboard. But not anymore. The cars rolling off the assembly lines today have computers dominating their center stacks. According to our latest Techsurvey, 20% of respondents are currently driving truly connected cars with systems like Ford SYNC or Chrysler UConnect, while more than six in ten say they hook up their smartphones to their car stereos. And although radio will hold its own, these computers bring far more competition into the car than radio has ever faced before. Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, Apple Music, podcasts, and more will be easily accessible with a tap of the screen.
As I learned at the DASH Conference that Jacobs Media hosted last year, the auto manufacturers have largely ceded the operating systems on these dashboard computers to Apple and Google. With Apple's Carplay OS, and Google's Android Auto OS, these two companies will serve as the gatekeepers for any company looking to access drivers through the dashboard. In other words, there are now two huge companies standing between you and your listeners in the car.
No broadcaster should take their radio station's position in the dashboard for granted.
NEXT STEP: On June 28th, Fred Jacobs is hosting a webinar titled, "Understanding the Connected Car: An Introduction for Radio Broadcasters." It will cover everything you need to know about radio's future in the dashboard. Register for it here.