The battle for the car dashboard


The dashboard is up for grabs! It is easier than ever to access online music services on the road, with the ongoing rollout of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. That means that radio is now competing with Spotify, Facebook and other online content platforms, for listening time on the road.

In this lively discussion we heard from Christian Winter (Audi, Germany), Matthieu Beauval (Radio France, France), Ben Poor (EBU, Switzerland) and Roger Landar (Strategy Analytics, US).

Roger Landar started the group’s discussion. He believes that broadcasters need to utilise IP technologies to excite and engage listeners. “We are
building the experience in the car, 5G is coming and the traditional radio experience is changing.” But there are several issues which need to be overcome. Roger said that, “We are peering into a black hole” when it came to consumer choice, radio is still in the mix in the infotainment system, but some drivers may start to opt out of radio if they are given the choice.

The group talked through some of the issues with data in the car. Now the car is connected, we are learning so much about drivers, said Christian Winter. But the car companies have to be very careful with this information – and GDPR will inevitably have an impact. However, the data is there and the value proposition is clear.

Christian Winter provided the vehicle industry perspective. “We want to deliver a car with quality integrated features and a new infotainment platform. The car of the future will have connected services and on-board entertainment; immersive audio with multi-speakers systems”. He went into detail on the new hybrid developments in Audi cars which are now being rolled out across the VW group. He also told broadcasters what was needed from them in order for the informaiton shown in cars to look good and to provide the information that drivers are coming to expect while listening to the radio. This was an informative and important presentation for all broadcasters and the level of interest in what he was describing was high – from how to send the correct logos in the car to what logos work best. 

Matthieu Beauval spoke about the work being done within Radio France on radio in the car and keeping radio relevant in the dashboard. There was a clear vision with Radio France of what stations should be doing now and in the future in the car. Many iniatives are being undertaken and these plus others which are similar need to be duplicated throughout the radio industry. 

In conclusion, the group agreed, it is incredible that Apple and Android are still allowing users to use their smartphones in cars, says Ben Poor. Carplay and Android Auto are trying to replicate what consumers already want from traditional radio which is working. So the broadcast sector needs to have an “in-car strategy”, said Matthieu Beauval. We need a response!

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