Aha, CBS Radio, NPR, Honda, Subaru pact for web in the car


From CES in Las Vegas: Honda and Subaru are currently working with in-car web connectivity provider Aha to integrate with the Aha platform starting with model year 2013 vehicles. Aha by Harman is an interactive platform that will bring web-connected infotainment safely to millions of drivers, right through the radio. CBS Radio, Rhapsody, NPR are on-board for content delivery. Aha also recently signed content deals with Entertainment Radio Network, MOG, and AOL SHOUTcast Radio, which will become available this year.

Kenwood also announced that it will begin shipping Aha-integrated aftermarket head units this Spring. Honda, Subaru and Kenwood customers will be able to access all of Aha’s stations right from the car’s infotainment system. The end result will be tens of thousands of personalized, web-enabled stations that cover everything from music, news and social streams to travel and audiobooks. Aha is actually working with five automotive manufacturers to implement consumer services based on its cloud-based platform.

“Drivers want easy access to their web content in the car, publishers want to get their music, news and information to drivers, and car companies want to give drivers a safe and up-to-date experience. Until Aha, it was very hard to do any of these, much less all three,” said Robert Acker, Harman VP/GM of Aha. “By partnering with companies like Honda, Subaru, Kenwood, CBS, Rhapsody, and NPR in addition to our existing partners like Pioneer and Slacker, Aha has become the web-connected “fourth band” of the car radio, alongside AM, FM and satellite radio. Aha’s platform uniquely enables drivers to safely and easily access great audio content from around the web, and transforms non-audio web content into radio stations. This is just the beginning of the automotive and content deals we’ll announce this year.”

CBS Radio’s 129 stations will be distributed via mobile devices and directly into cars. Beginning in Q1 2012, Aha users will have instant access to thousands of free stations of Web-based content including local CBS Radio stations, on-demand, music, live news, podcasts, audio books, personalized traffic reports, Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds, personalized restaurant recommendations from Yelp! and more.

With CBS Radio available on Aha, users will be able to tune into their favorite AM or FM stations featuring news, sports, talk, and music programming on the growing number of Aha-enabled devices, including:

•Subaru automobiles (select models)
•Pioneer’s AVIC AVIC-Z130BT and AVIC-X930BT head units

Aha has also announced that it will launch a new Android app and update its iPhone app in Q1 2012.

RBR-TVBR observation: We were wondering if CBS Radio would take the iHeartRadio or perhaps Pandora plunge to get its streaming stations in the dash. Now we have our answer: As Fleetwood Mac would say, “You can go your own way.” The battle for the dash heats up—getting the content into cars’ online-connected system is the prize. Looking forward, where will this leave satellite radio and HD Radio?