A ReinCARnation

By on Jul, 28 2014 with Comments 0

Next RadioMore choices and more personalization have lead to an uncomfortable destabilzation of radio’s place in the car… the car where currently more than 50% of radio’s heavy listening happens according to Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey10. In light of this, there is a great need to keep and grow in-car listening. But with younger consumers caring the most about connected dashboards, they will be the voice that automakers listen to when deciding radio’s place, so we must play both a defensive and offensive role in retaining our place in the spotlight. In this update, we’ll give you some highlights from the talk as well as tell you about the interesting findings coming out of Coleman Insights’ research on what consumers think of NextRadio.

By the Numbers

  • Over 670,000 app downloads
  • Over 9,950 FM radio stations tuned to from the app
  • Over 780,000 hours of listening through NextRadio
  • A 4/5 Google Play Store user rating

Connected Car Webinar Wrap-up

The webinar, “NextRadio and the Connected Car:
 Growing Listeners With Interactive Content” on the July 16th was a very informative look at the current state of radio in the automobile and how NextRadio fits in.

Paul Jacobs offered an overview of trends in new automotive dashes and noted that representatives for radio had been conspicuously absent from decision-making until recently. He showed revealing video of connected dashboard tours and their emphasis on app-based models.

Noting that carmakers still view broadcast radio as the most popular audio feature in the dash, he says they’re hungry for radio to present something that catches up with all of the other in-car audio apps (i.e. Pandora and iHeartRadio). They want it to be a visual, interactive, and safe experience. They are clearly pushing the radio industry for that.

CCW_play“Anyone who can come up with that standard platform, standard experience for users, I think is going to have a real advantage,” Jacobs explained. “The automakers are agnostic. It’s not like they’re rooting for radio or they’re rooting for Pandora, they’re rooting for what works – what moves cars… So if the radio industry gets behind NextRadio and begins to build the case that it sells cars, that it enhances the user experience, they will jump right on it.”

Everything we’ve done with NextRadio in the smartphone has brought us into conversations with automakers for exactly the reason spelled out above. Because the work we’ve done already would enable broadcasters to have an immediate, compelling presence in the dash as the car audio broadcast would be enhanced with the same content that serves the NextRadio app in the smartphone.

This could happen in one (or both) of two ways: NextRadio in the smartphone as a companion to the connected dash or the NextRadio technology inside the dash as a native app. But all of this depends on NextRadio succeeding and being truly supported by the radio industry first. We’re off to a great start with Sprint, our flagship wireless carrier, but when asked in the Q&A segment what other carriers are saying, Brenner recounted that the response is usually “Show us you can do it. Show us that your industry call pull this off and we’ll talk to you again.”

It all circles conveniently back to that creation of a standard, and a standard isn’t one until everybody’s on board. Recent jumps in support of the NextRadio app and delivery of enhanced content to it are very encouraging, but of course we’re still gunning for 100%. The recently released Coleman Insights study of NextRadio (more on that below) shows us that if you present a friendly experience, people will not only listen to FM radio, but will listen more.

“We need to make sure that the user doesn’t think that the only way to listen to the radio outside of the car is through a streaming app. That’s not a good business model for the radio industry to rely on – that royalty-based business is very challenging. So portability is very important,” says Brenner.

Focusing on the smartphone as the catalyst, there will be about 30 million FM-enabled smartphones available to consumers by 2016. With listening minutes through NextRadio on a steady rise, we’re presented with a tremendous opportunity for FM listening in smartphones through commitment and promotion. And that all translates to the dashboard if we can prove a good model.

It’s a critical time for the radio industry as the car’s dashboard is changing. Relationships between radio and the automakers are extremely valuable, and we must be present in these discussions and decisions about how radio will fit into this changed dash.

Paul J. encourages all broadcasters to get into and EXPERIENCE a connected car to see all of the new listening options drivers have at their fingertips so that you understand radio’s challenge and can be an active voice in its reinvention.

Thanks to all who attended and participated in the great Q&A at the end. If you missed any part or know someone that may benefit from the webinar, we have it archived here:

VIEW THE ARCHIVED WEBINAR

We’d like to thank Vance Harrison of the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters for the idea that sparked this collaboration back in March and Michelle Vetterkind of NASBA for bringing the Pauls together again. Of course, special thanks to Paul Jacobs for his great insight. To continue this valuable discussion, make sure to attend October’s DASH Connected Car Audiotainment™ Conference in Detroit.

Insight on Insights

On the same day as the Connected Car Webinar, Coleman Insights released the results of part one of a two-part study in conjunction with knowDigital, the NAB and Emmis Communications which reveals that the NextRadio app has the potential to address the portability needs of radio listeners. The first part was a qualitative study featuring in-depth interviews with smartphone owners aged 20-39. They were presented with a short intro to NextRadio and offered the ability to interface with the app on the phone while being interviewed. The results were very encouraging. Though the takeaway from these initial findings was that radio is not perceived as portable, it was revealed that NextRadio has the ability to change that perception and make radio much more accessible to listeners.

WATCH A VIDEO OF THE STUDY

The studies will help to shape the decisions about how to position NextRadio when marketing to consumers by pinpointing what is most important to them when consuming media on their phones. The second part of the study was a large-scale national quantitative study – the results are to be released VERY soon!
LGG3_SGS5s

Moving Forward

NEW PHONES! Two new FM-enabled smartphones have hit the market preloaded with NextRadio since we last spoke. Now available are the shiny new LG G3 (in Gold, exclusively through Sprint) and the new Samsung Galaxy S5 Sport with rubber grips and physical front buttons for when you’re getting all physical yourself. Both available in Sprint stores and online. Check out all of our currently supported devices at our app website.

Along with those, we’re excited to announce that, for the second (and third) time, smartphones on other carriers have the ability to run NextRadio. The new HTC One® remix is exclusive to Verizon Wireless, and the HTC Desire 610 is available on AT&T, but much like the HTC One® M8 that came out in May, these phones have both their internal FM chips activated and the software necessary to run NextRadio. Their users may download the app from the Google Play Store, install, and it will work like a charm.

* Help us get the word out about these HTC phones crossing over to other carriers! Tweet, post, chat it up on-air, and make sure to follow @NextRadioApp to be the first to know when new NextRadio-enabled phones become available.

It was really great talking. We’ll see some of you next week at the big Texas Association of Broadcasters 61st Annual Convention in Austin and see the rest of you back here for an update in two weeks.

 

About The Author: RBR+TVBR has been reporting on the business of broadcasting for nearly three decades. Beholden to no one, it is independently owned.

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