OK, pardon me for playing the role of “zookeeper” this morning, but it was hard to miss this story a couple weeks ack. If you’re part of a morning show, chances are good it provided at least a couple of quarter-hours of compelling radio for you.
It turns out a driver in Detroit died when his car overturned on a freeway ramp. According to the Michigan State Police, it turns out he was streaming pornography on his smartphone while masturbating at the same time. Talk about multitasking and distracted driving all in the same bizarre story.
But aside from the porn part, this guy may not be as atypical as he may seem. This “knucklehead in the news” is part of a growing number of consumers streaming something while they’re on the road. OK, maybe not porn.
The discovery/search company, Rovi Corp., reports that six in ten consumers frequently stream content while driving or when taking public transportation. Overall, nearly one-fourth say they view streaming content while driving.
The survey was conducted worldwide among 4,000 pay-TV and OTT subscribers (over the top, which means they get video content via the Internet). Overall, 1,000 of these interviews were completed in the U.S. So discerning observers might note these people may be somewhat leading edge when it comes to streaming.
But the growing trend of streaming in cars – audio and video – is amping up, fueled by seamless smartphone pairing, growing WiFi access, and eventually, cars that essentially drive themselves. Obviously, this guy in Detroit took the hands-free things a little too literally.
But when it comes to changing web habits, we also know there’s more video than audio streaming occurring, another signpost for the radio industry to keep moving in visual directions to ensure its content, brands, and personalities are getting noticed.
Last week we touched on autonomous cars, coming faster than we think. That’s one of several topics I’ll be addressing during a “connected car” presentation for Borrell’s Local Online Advertising Conference (#LOAC2016) next week in New York City. For radio, drivers during a long commute who may, in fact, have their eyes free present a prime opportunity for visual media. Interestingly, television stations, newspapers, and other outlets that have been effectively barred from cars for safety reasons may find their in-car content just became relevant.
For radio, in-car streaming presents both a challenge and an opportunity. First, does the audio stream provide a quality listening experience? I can tell you from spending time with many broadcast radio station streams each week that the answer is a definite “No.”
And second, providing visual entertainment that accompanies the audio – video streams, photos, and more – creates opportunities for radio to engage its commuting audience in new ways. But of course this is the case whether autonomous driving becomes mainstream or not. That video piece for radio becomes more important each year. The fact it will become more prevalent on the road suggests that more stations should be involved in video production and content creation.
Techsurvey12 will be out of the data oven soon, and we’ll learn more about the impact of video on radio listeners and radio brands. From “connected cars” to video streaming and on-demand usage, we will have great findings to share with you that will help your strategize your future.
Video is coming to dashboards, and the morning commute may never be the same. As for porn on the way to work – both eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel, please.
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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