In recent weeks, I’ve made a number of “connected car” presentations at various industry events. Last week, it was Borrell’s LOAC 2016 conference. Next week, I’m honored to be part of a great panel at Radiodays Europe, held in Paris this year.
Everyone in radio is buzzing about the “connected car” – and for good reason. It will most certainly impact broadcasters right where it matters – in usage, and ultimately, the bottom line. But of course, that cuts both ways. Smart thinking, great planning, and a concerted effort by the radio industry could tip things in a positive direction.
But it will require embracing disruption, investing in expertise and research, developing great strategies, and then exerting a unified front to get it done.
Consider for a moment ride services like Uber and Lyft. They both represent disruption, not just to the taxi business, but to the auto industry as well. Better driving alternatives for Millennials, in particular, will ultimately transform the car business. In fact, reduced gasoline consumption and a smaller carbon footprint are just two of the outgrowths of these mobile ride brands. But their success – especially if their commuting services take off in markets around the country – will most definitely lead to the sales of fewer cars.
This TED Talk by Uber CEO Travis Kalanick speaks to the coming realities of shared commuting and carpooling – all leading to the ultimate truth that automakers will have to recalibrate their thinking and their goals. This has implications on many different businesses, from auto insurers to dashboard media providers.
Email recipients: click here to watch Uber CEO Travis Kalanick TED Talk video
The other side of the equation is autonomous cars. And while Millennials have been the catalysts for making Uber a phenomenon, it may be Boomers who lead the way with self-driving cars. Automotive journalist and expert Doug Newcomb believes that as we age, the attraction of vehicles that can deliver us safely to our destinations will become a major trend.
Bloomberg recently quoted the director of M.I.T.’s AgeLab, Joseph Coughlin, who contends that Baby Boomers are in the forefront of the autonomous phenomenon:
“For the first time in history, older people are going to be the lifestyle leaders of a new technology.”
Not everyone’s sold, of course. The idea of cars that drive themselves is foreign to most people who are still trying to get their head around the concept.
To that end, here’s a highlight from our soon-to-be-released Techsurvey12 – consumer attitudes toward self-driving cars. As the chart below shows, three in ten are strongly against or leaning against autonomous cars. Many others aren’t sure or say they need more information to make a decision. But nearly a quarter have a positive feeling about this tech phenomenon.
But in the end, it will not matter, and the truly smart players in these spaces know what’s around the corner. They are already planning and strategizing for the day that shared mobility, online taxi dispatch companies, and autonomous cars will be in the mainstream.
As I told many newspaper publishers and TV owners and operators at the LOAC group, the day when “drivers” can read the daily headlines or watch Action News videos while they commute to work will be here sooner than we think.
The smartest companies will start planning for these eventualities with services and content that meet the changing needs of mobile consumers. The broadcasting industry – both TV and radio – have a remarkable opportunity to actually get ahead of the curve.
But it will require initiatives, leadership, and a united front to recognize that a changing transportation revolution driven by technology is a call to action.
These changes in the ways consumer transport themselves are coming sooner than we think.
So who’s doing the driving?
Prior to launching the company, Fred spent the majority of his time designing and managing research projects as the Director of Research for the Radio and Publishing divisions for Frank N. Magid Associates, a leading research and consulting firm. Later, Fred became Director of Radio Research for the ABC-FM Owned and Operated Radio Stations. From there, Fred gravitated to the station side, becoming program director for legendary WRIF-FM in Detroit, before forming Jacobs Media.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults Jacobs Media’s major market Classic, Mainstream, and Active Rock clients, while having input in every client relationship.
Fred has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, and a Master’s degree in Telecommunications from Michigan State University.
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