12.12.2019 – by Rosemary Smith
In October 2019, DAB+ and WorldDAB held the prime spot on stage at the TU Automotive event in Munich, the leading telematics event for the automotive industry in Europe bringing together over 500 participants from across the industry.
On the panel for this session were Audi’s Martin Koch and Antonio Arcidiacono from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), with Nick Piggott from RadioDNS acting as the moderator.
Audi’s Martin Koch noted that people’s expectations of music services are increasing, driving innovation in radio and making it more technically functional, while also putting the end customer at the center of the action. According to Koch, while radio still holds its core values of informing and entertaining, it now offers new, more diverse and personalised experiences than in the past.
Touching on radio’s longevity, Antonio Arcidiacono stated that radio is much more resilient than television, having already made it through many difficult periods. However, he went on to say that there is now much more choice in the car, with radio’s place at risk given that it still remains non-interactive and non-visual – “you can’t see and feel the content, and the customer isn’t part of the experience…for the first time, as radio gets more technically capable, the broadcasters need to educate the car industry about ‘new’ radio”.
Both Koch and Arcidiacono highlighted the need for personalisation in the car. Audi has reimagined how to find radio, replacing the channel choice such as FM/DAB/IP and instead presenting a digestible list which is easy to navigate, as they believe the customer shouldn’t be spending time searching through platforms, but rather content and stations.
They also noted that while broadcasters currently develop content and recommend music with personalisation driven by broadcaster apps and search engines, the end-dream is that the car will know what you like to listen to at a specific time – something referred to as “PEACH” – “Personalisation for Each”. That said, one of the key benefits of radio today is curated content, and this should not be lost due to personalisation – the ideal radio will balance distribution and personalisation, and offer the listener a combination of both.
Discussing metadata, both Koch and Arcidiacono agreed that there needs to be a chain of people who collaborate, both on the content side and with regard to metadata, so that it can easily be adapted for the car. “Metadata is fundamental… There must be a way to help you search through the gold mines of data”, said Martin Koch, with Antonio Archidiacono stressing that the depth and wealth of content historically offered by radio ought to be utilised.
In a call to broadcasters, Martin Koch said “We need to care about the radio in cars as this is what we ship with our cars”, adding that “the available presentation space is huge and radio needs to improve its UX design” – according to Koch, listeners now expect a more visual experience in the car and want to see more contextual images displayed on their dashboards.
On the audio side, Antonio Archidiacono presented the latest project coming out of the EBU Technical Department, Eurobox – “Eurobox will allow you to listen to the news translated into your language in any country”, which, according to the EBU Director of Technology, “will enrich the radio experience and ensure radio stays relevant to listeners”. Arcidiacono also spoke about the work the EBU Technical department are doing to unify standards, DAB and IP and the upcoming introduction of 5G, stressing that it is important for broadcasters that all platforms are available to listeners.
In conclusion, the group agreed that user interface in the car would be key to the future of radio, and that content should remain the core focus at the heart of broadcasters’ strategy moving forward.