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ETCA 2016: Entertainment on the Road -- The Connected Car

June 29, 2016

Just as an increasing amount of content is being consumed on mobile devices, so too is the car a growth market for entertainment -- although one that has its own unique technical and safety issues. Allan McLennan of The PADEM Group moderated a panel including GM's Allan Messer, Michelle Avary from Aeris, and Marc Manus, a consultant to the entertainment industry. Messer kicked things off by stressing the upcoming explosive changes in the automotive industry -- comparing the changes expected over the next five years to the changes from the last 50. His vision video was focused on GM's well-known On Star connectivity platform, and its various applications in security, vehicle management, safety, mobile data access, and entertainment. He positioned connectivity as one of the four major themes driving changes to autos -- Electric propulsion, Sharing, and Autonomous operation being the other three.

Avary, formerly from Toyota, gave some background on Aeris, that brings connectivity and services to devices -- including cars. Their focus is primarily on vehicle information, more so than entertainment. She said that about half the cars being built in the US this year will have an embedded phone (distinct from those that can be used with a tethered smartphone). How many of those customers will actually subscribe to the optional services available for the car's embedded phone after a trial period was a subject for speculation -- with none of the panelists hazarding a specific estimate. Manus said that so far he'd seen the most interest from Hollywood in using the connected experience to help market and generate brand awareness -- through long-form commercials that merge a scripted narrative with a product. The panel tried to hash out how large the market needed to be before content is created specifically for consumption in the car. Right now, driver content is limited to audio, so radio and related models are leading the way. Most video in the car is simply the same content that might be consumed elsewhere, but either downloaded or streamed into the vehicle. McClennan said some of the MCNs in the UK are specifically targeting kid's and the car "back seat" for their programming. Panelists conjectured that when content is created for viewing in cars -- particularly shared cars -- it would need to be authored and produced differently from versions made for consumption in the home. As an example, Avary asked what might be possible if content creators could have access to the car's sensors, and incorporate their input into the experience (anything from location-based informational content to driving-related experiences based on vehicle speed and dynamics). 

Tag(s): ETCA2016

David Cardinal

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