The 19th edition of the publication arrives at a critical time
WorldDAB reported a record-breaking number of attendees to its WorldDAB Automotive 2021 conference, which took place online on June 23.
More than 500 delegates from 70+ countries registered to attend the event. The goal of the conference was to bring together the broadcast and automotive sectors to collaborate on securing the future of digital radio in the car.
Martin Koch, VW Group’s Head of Entertainment and Car Functions, delivered the opening keynote. He affirmed that radio in the car is important not just for listeners and broadcasters, but also to car manufacturers, with radio still taking the major share of ear in the car. He warned that with larger screens now a reality on the car dash, and with more entertainment options fighting for the attention of drivers and passengers, radio needs to provide more than audio to attract and retain audiences.
A recurring theme of the conference was the need for broadcasters to both collaborate and compete with the tech platforms Apple Car Play or Android Automotive. Strategy Analytics’ Roger Lanctot reported that the car has evolved to become a platform, with Google being both a partner and a competitor — enabling and supporting content, but with others crowding in.
Radio industry leaders Joan Warner from CRA Australia, Antonio Arcidiacono from EBU and Caroline Beasley from the United States were unanimous that broadcasters need to work together through their industry bodies to optimize the in-car radio experience to ensure that radio remains prominent and easily discoverable in the car.
WorldDAB President, Patrick Hannon, outlined three key areas for the work of WorldDAB: ensuring that DAB+ is a basic feature in all cars; creating a good in-car experience through the work of the WorldDAB UX Guidelines and metadata campaign; and improving DAB+’s place in platforms such as Android Automotive.
In another session, Aleksandra Gojkovic presented new research by the BBC revealing the complex ecosystem of needs and mediating factors driving the audio choices that in-car listeners make.
Laurence Harrison and Caroline Graze spoke of the importance of WorldDAB’s UX guidelines for creating a “perfect” hybrid radio (FM, DAB+, IP).
Nick Piggott, Project Director of RadioDNS presented a first look at WorldDAB/RadioDNS’ Features Research. He revealed the high level of engagement all auto brands questioned have for DAB digital radio and radio in general, with most car receivers showing visual information provided by radio stations.
On the subject of personalization and localization, broadcasters were encouraged to not just enable an excellent listener experience for the passenger, but also to create monetization business models. Francis Goffin from RTBF spoke about how broadcasters in Belgium are doing this today while Christopher Ambrozic from TiVo gave an overview of how a system developed over many years for TV is being adapted to radio.
The conference has been archived and is available to watch here.