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Seven Radio-Specific Takeaways From CES 2023.

With an estimated 100,000 in-person attendees – more than double that of 2022 – and 2,200 exhibitors, CES was back in full swing last week. “It was definitely a bounce-back year, although still not back to pre-pandemic levels,” says Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs, reporting exclusively for Inside Radio from the show. Here are seven takeaways from the world's biggest consumer electronics show.

Electric vehicles are in the fast lane, passing self-driving

There’s been a big shift among the automakers and their suppliers who took over the Las Vegas Convention Center’s West Hall. “There’s so much less talk about autonomous but electric vehicles are a very big thing here,” says Jacobs. So was the screen-ification of the in-car experience. That means more and larger screens that go from pillar to pillar, literally taking over the dashboard.

Less emphasis on smart speakers, more on Alexa Voice in the car

Unlike previous CES shows, smart speakers were not a focal point this year. Instead the voice trend has shifted into the car. Amazon has doubled down on Alexa Auto. “They’re expanding the in-car experience through voice, even replacing the voice of Alexa with a celebrity voice,” Jacobs explains. That which could open an opportunity for using a radio host’s voice for some responses. “It's less about talking to Alexa and more about how Amazon voice in the car can connect you with the media you want or the result that you want in a personalized, customized way.”

The Metaverse opens new marketing opportunities

While broadcast radio is known for its recency, the ability to reach consumers in the last few miles before a brick-and-mortar store purchase, it can be enhanced with “expanded reality” experiences in the home via geotargeting. “Imagine having a showroom sitting in your home. Or while a personality or influencer is talking about a product, those products can suddenly reveal themselves around the person,” Rahul Sabnis, Executive VP and Chief Creative Officer at iHeartMedia told Radio Advertising Bureau President and CEO Erica Farber in a RAB video from CES. “That is how you create a kind of extended reality experience that takes what was theoretically just a radio show and suddenly becomes an inclusive experience where the listener is now engaging where they are, in ways that they never could before.”

More media expansion and platform disruption ahead

Personalization of content and advertising will pick up speed in 2023, ad execs said at Digital Hollywood, part of the CES program. With radio’s evolution to a multiplatform audio medium, its cornerstone value proposition of reach and frequency are being augmented with greater targetability. “It has become much more targetable and much more measurable,” said Audacy Chief Marketing Officer Paul Suchman. And faced with economic headwinds, marketers will revert to the fundamentals of brand objective and delivering engagement and performance. “You're going to see audio playing across the entire funnel,” Suchman predicted. “That reach and precision and then total audio across the funnel is where I think it’s going to go in 2023.”

CES is moving away from gadgetry and more toward experiences

While still fundamentally a tech innovation showcase, CES has been pivoting more to the experiences that technology can create for the user. “There was a lot of how technology can help your mood can help you feel better, and how you can personalize that experience,” Jacobs surmises.

Tech innovation is bursting at the seams

CES 2023 brought more than 1,000 new exhibitors to Eureka Park, a good sign for technology and innovation. The serendipity is back,” Jacobs observes. “The element of surprise has always been an elusive quality at this show, but when it happens, it’s a beautiful thing. Turns out this exhibit hall for newbies has “term limits.” “Bootstrap companies can only exhibit there for two years before either moving onto the big time (LVCC) or throwing in the towel,” Jacobs points out.

The COVID backwash was evident throughout the show

From a toilet that analyzes your urine to a Samsung HealthTap telehealth subscription to equipment to makes working from home easier, there was a heightened focus on health this year. “The words ‘feel’ and ‘relax’ were all over the place,” Jacobs explains. And much of the technology introduced is designed to de-stress and “create a personalized, customized experience, whether you're in your car, or your office or at home, meeting the moment where you are.”

Jacobs Media and Inside Radio will present a webinar on CES 2023 and its implications for radio on Thursday, Jan. 19 at 2pm. Registration info is forthcoming.

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