Friday, May 05, 2017


A recent A&O&B Facebook post from Jaye got quite a bit of attention.
It concerned a story by the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Todd Prince speculating about whether or not television would remove radio from the car in the same way it did in the living room – only this time using tablets.
The article also made some estimates about the growth of the connected car – now reported to be 12% but projected to reach 85% by 2025.
Business Insider’s Andrew Meola foresees that connected cars will cross the 80% threshold by 2021 and that this would equate to a “compound annual growth rate of 35% from 21 million connected cars in 2016.”
“Internet-enabled cars” is a topic we’ve been tracking at A&O&B for a number of years through our annual online perceptual Roadmap.
Our “Roadmap 2017” looked at the percent of 18-54 country listeners who reported having either a built-in or plug-in connection to the Internet.
This year’s 13% “built-in” is similar to the 12% cited in the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s article. The percent of Roadmap 2017 respondents reporting built-in access has more than doubled over the past 2 years while those having plug-in access is up significantly too.
Meanwhile the percent of listeners self-reporting that they do not have in-car Internet access fell below 50% for the first time since we’ve been trending the data.

A project by Accenture showed that among infotainment services, entertainment scored significantly higher than information, productivity and educational in terms of importance. The study also found that among technology choices, streaming music (82% either currently using or wanting to use this technology) had a sizeable lead over operating smart phone via steering wheel controls (70%), web surfing using an in-car monitor (50%), and read and dictate emails while driving (49%).
Last summer Nielsen reported that among all ages surveyed, “safety is consumers’ top tech consideration.” However the interest in connectivity vs. safety was nearly tied – and connectivity was number one in interest among Millennials.
Meanwhile, according to a Business Insider report from 2015, consumers who are aware of connected cars are most interested in streaming music inside the car (69%), surfing using a monitor (57%), one or more of five traffic/driver-related features (41-52%), and access to social media (40%).
Earlier this year Edison Research reported on in-car audio sources via their Infinite Dial. Including in those findings were that, among persons 18+ who’d either driven or ridden in a car in the last month:
·         AM/FM in-car listening from 2014 to 2017 is off 86-82%.
·         Listening to owned digital music increased from 31-45% (with CD usage down 61% to 52%).
·         Online radio listening increased 14% to 26%.
·         Listening to Internet radio in the car using a cell phone connected to the car’s audio system rose from 26 to 40% (based on those who own a cell phone).

According to, Scott Burnell, Ford Motor Co.’s Global Lead for Business Development and Partner Management, Ford Developer program said that despite an increase in streaming, broadcast radio has unique advantages and opportunities. “Humans want interactions with humans; they want interactions with other humans. They want friends, family and someone they trust to tell them what is good and what they should be checking out.”
Plus, the above referenced BI survey noted that 25% said they would accept commercials as payment for these services being free.
Humans interacting, local insights, and commercials as compensation – sounds like some of the things radio can (should) do best.
So back to the question of, “Will radio be pushed out of the car?”
Tomorrow or the next day? Not likely.
But as Roadmap 2017 pointed out, the percent of Internet-enabled cars – at least for country users – continues to increase. And that’s a trend expected to continue as older cars are replaced with connected ones.

So a more urgent question is, “What will we do today (and tomorrow and the next day) that will place us in the top tier of ‘must hear’ content?”

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