For decades terrestrial radio was the only entertainment motorists could access through their dashboards. More recently satellite radio emerged to compete, though its impact has been only moderate.
Looking into the future, cars are now set to come with their own options for data subscriptions. Just this year mobile providers in the U.S. have announced deals with various car manufacturers to provide data to customers. At the same time both Google and Apple are rumored to be preparing to unleash their mobile operating systems on the automotive industry.
Market research firm ABI Research today released a report containing some educated guesses about how quickly the streaming automotive entertainment industry might grow. The report states that shipments of music-enabled automotive "infotainment" systems are expected to reach 66 million by the year 2019. By that time such technology will represent 93% of the entire automotive "infotainment" market, dwarfing the reach of satellite radio companies.
“FM broadcasting still dominates in-car listening today, but it is likely that this will gradually diminish in favor of streamed radio and music services as an increasing number of cars become connected,” said Gareth Owen, principal analyst at ABI. “It is now clear that digital radio via DAB/DAB+ and HD Radio is unlikely to ever become as widespread as FM on a global or even regional basis, and so car OEMs will need to include FM receivers in their infotainment products for many years to come.”
As exciting as this may be, ABI does caution that car companies themselves might hinder the industry. As seen in other well-established industries, companies are often large enough to try and establish their own platforms rather than use cohesive standards. App-makers such as Pandora and Spotify will have to work with all of these disparate standards to make sure their apps run effectively.
Placing streaming entertainment into vehicles will almost certainly be worth any trouble, though. With drivers a captive audience, advertisers will be able to better target ads based on location and other personalized factors as seen already online.
Image via Tesla