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NAB 2023: Driving Revenue and Insights with Connected Car Listening Data.

Joe D'Angelo, Fletcher Whitwell, Pierre Bouvard, Fred Jacobs (L-R)

Greeting the attendees for the “Driving Revenue and Insights with Connected Car Listening Data” session at the 2023 NAB Show, host Ginny Morris, Chair & CEO of Hubbard Radio, stated the obvious.

“As we all are aware the automobile dashboard is evolving. And we're all experiencing some of the challenges that come with that,” she said. “But today, the panel is going to really focus on the opportunity that it brings us as broadcasters in the broadcasting industry.”

Change is a constant, and radio has always been quick to adapt. While change comes, a constant remains. “If you're in radio, you know that the number one listening location for radio has always been the car, and hopefully it will always be, but no question that in recent years, the car has changed,” Fred Jacobs, President of Jacobs Media, who served as session moderator, said.

The way consumers listen to audio in the car has changed with the advent of streaming, podcasts, and satellite radio. Keeping radio prevalent in the Connected Car is what Xperi set out to do when developing DTS AutoStage.

“When we designed this system five years ago, we went out to the leaders in the industry for their support, and we promised that we would deliver back to the industry analytics and metrics on how people are listening to the radio. And we would do that at no cost to the industry,” Joe D'Angelo Senior VP, Broadcast Radio & Digital Audio, Xperi explained. Just last month the company introduced the Broadcaster Portal platform unveiling some of the findings.

Competing With Big Tech

The radio industry is facing competition for ad dollars, not only from broadcast competitors but also from big tech, which “generated almost $42 billion of revenue from their audio services alone,” D'Angelo said. “Technology is in their sweet spot. And the industry needs some way to competitively respond to that threat.”

Radio has had very little usable data on how people actually listen when they’re in their cars. Nielsen doesn’t report listening locations, “it's just whether they're out of the home,” Jacobs stated.

Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer Westwood One/Cumulus Media, continued the thought, saying, “Radio has historically been in a tough spot because two-thirds of our tuning is away from home.” Most other media have data to pull from, radio, historically, has had Nielsen. With DTS AutoStage data, “that's what we have here for the first time,” Bouvard continued. “If you're in a PPM market, where you're getting weekly data from Nielsen, this is going to be useful, it'll be a complement. But if you're in a medium market, and you're only getting two diary surveys a year, this is going to give you continuous data on how your stations are doing. And if you're in an unrated or small market, you're now going to get electronic large samples of data, that you can show both retailers and advertisers of your audience.”

“This is a big moment,” Fletcher Whitwell, Partner, and Chief Media & Publishing Officer R&R Partners,” acknowledged. “I think radio now has this opportunity to start thinking about comparing it to how other channels have been successful… digital, streaming audio and those types of things.”

The DTS AutoStage heat map data, “basically illustrates where your audience is driving, and what time of day they're in those areas,” D’Angelo remarked. “I think that's a very powerful tool to give a sales team an idea of where they want to go sell.”

The radio industry has long focused on hot zips, targeting clients, and planning events where PPM holders or diary-keepers live. But two-thirds of radio listening occurs away from home. “We’ve never known where they are driving to, what are their normal work patterns,” Bouvard explained. With DTS AutoStage hot map data, sellers now have this information.

“We can use the power of planning and buying and those types of things to really be strategic,” Whitwell said.

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