Examples of interactivity using the Quu app. Listeners can call an advertiser, vote for an artist or tag a song. The media landscape is changing at an accelerated rate. Digital platforms have altered consumer habits and expectations. Rapid adoption of smartphones, tablets and other connected devices has created a new type of consumer who demands instant gratification and on-the-go media consumption.
Although millions of consumers continue to listen to or watch their program from “traditional” radio or TV platforms, they’re doing so with new digital platforms also at hand. Consumers expect full interaction with these platforms. They want socialization with other connected consumers, they want the ability to obtain additional information and they want to “be heard.” Likewise, advertisers are demanding a better ROI for their ad dollars and more comprehensive analytics from broadcasters.
The automotive dashboard landscape is becoming a vehicle for this transformation, and radio needs to be a part of it. This is the claim of Joe Harb, founder of Quu Interactive.
They want more
His company offers technology to help terrestrial radio thrive in this car environment, with data-driven services like contesting, couponing, music presentation and concert promotion. His NAB Show Broadcast Engineering Conference Sunday session, “In-Car Hybrid Radio,” is a call to action for radio broadcasters to join in the automotive entertainment revolution.
“Whether they’re responding to the music a station plays or interacting with advertisers, the next generation of radio listeners wants to be heard,” says Harb.
Metadata has moved radio beyond a sound environment into the text and graphics realm.
RDS and HD Radio offer some data services already with basic station information like artist and song titles, program host name and, in the case of HD Radio, album covers. However, Harb says, this is not enough for today’s consumers, who demand and expect full interactivity, additional information and instant gratification.
The first step to interactivity, Harb believes, is bringing it to mobile apps in the form of a “second screen” for radio.
Quu’s offering is called ScreenTwo. The app, loaded on a mobile device, provides a radio listener with a second screen experience, no matter how the user is hearing your station; it knows which station the user is listening to regardless of source device. While the consumer is listening to the FM or AM station, the app will display related rich info, where the user can browse for additional information or take action such as “click to call the advertiser” or tag the song or ad for later action.
Harb said a station that signs up for the service will receive software with a minimum footprint that communicates with Quu’s servers and helps ScreenTwo identify the station the listener is tuned to. The methodology by which the app knows this is confidential, Harb said; but the system does not rely on embedded coding of the over-the-air signal.
The next step is bringing this second screen info into the car, and utilizing the automotive touchscreen and mobile environments to make radio an interactive medium.
Today’s car stereos are application-driven, and the industry should put its weight behind bringing ScreenTwo as a standard app in the car dash, Harb says. The consumer would be listening to regular broadcast FM or AM, but the display on the car stereo would be fed using the data connection on the phone for a rich consumer experience.
For example, a DJ may play three songs and ask listeners to vote for their favorite by pressing A, B or C. (In the car environment, they may also use voice commands.) The station thus gets immediate feedback from its listeners. The system provides rich analytics to the station and the advertiser.
“Information about who is listening, where they are listening, what ads interest them, what songs they acted on and the total number of listeners, can all be provided instantly,” said Harb.
Features of interactive advertising include coupons, lead generation for advertisers and content that can be tagged and shared via social networks. Display companion advertising can be localized and targeted to individuals. For example, if an ad for car brand is playing, the display ad would show the ad with directions and the phone to the local dealer.
The costs to stations are relatively modest, according to Harb. “The cash outlay is a few thousand dollars.” He adds that the solution is software-based, no hardware purchases are necessary, and two major broadcast groups are on board.
The transition to new forms of interactive advertising, he adds, is underway up north, where major advertisers in Canada have announced that they will no longer support advertising with less than two screens.