The millennials are coming to the car and they demand content: Are you ready?

Radio has long stood as the dominant form of entertainment in the car due to being so easy to use and delivering a great user experience. Curated content at the simple touch of a button – it’s perfect for drivers. It’s also perfect for OEMs as a radio aerial can pick up signals of local channels anywhere in the world, making it very easy to implement when mass-producing cars for global distribution. But radio and in-car listening are set to undergo a fundamental change as cars become increasingly connected and we see a shift towards streaming. OEMs need to act now if they are to stay ahead.

In the next six months, millennials who have grown up with a connected lifestyle and expect content services to operate seamlessly across devices – including the car, are projected to lead a car ownership boom. A recent report from Ernst & Young found that 45% of all first-time car buyers will be between the ages of 24-39. With half of Spotify’s 320 million users under the age of 34, services such as Spotify will turn the in-car audio experience on its head and bring to the fore the era of the connected car.

The first step in the in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) journey is streaming audio because it replicates an experience that drivers are already used to, and its ease of use is what’s required while driving a car. In time, as electric vehicles and autonomous driving take off, there will be a move towards video, but for now, Spotify’s curated playlists mean a driver can just press “play” and go in the same way they have always been able to do with radio. Similarly, ACCESS Europe’s partner Radioline has an excellent content portfolio that provides local radio channels wherever you are in the world, via our ACCESS Twine™ for Car (Twine4Car) IVI system, effectively replicating the relevance of FM or DAB radio but with a much wider choice of content.

OEMs and Tier 1s are already moving towards streaming content and replicating the simplicity of radio. ACCESS Europe has worked with Jaguar Land Rover to provide users with a superior user experience, via the Twine4Car interface and its built-in content, while BMW launched its own in-car music solution and Harman partnered with Spotify to bring digital audio to the in-car ecosystem. But content partnerships are only part of the long-term solution. OEMs must ensure they control the user data to ensure they thrive in the age of the connected car.

If OEMs don’t control the user data, then someone else will, and manufacturers will miss out on valuable new services-based revenues that will become more valuable, and a more significant part of the automotive landscape, as in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) services such as content streaming apps grow in popularity. In the connected car, data will be king.

There is a massive opportunity for OEMs to engage car users in new ways and build long-lasting relationships through content, and that starts with audio. Leveraging the insights from the data at their disposal will pay dividends in understanding how consumers use their cars, enabling them to build brand loyalty long after the car has left the showroom. OEMs must act now to ensure they own the IVI experience.

Find out more about ACCESS Europe’s leading IVI system, Twine4Car, on our website or drop me a note here on LinkedIn.

About the author:

Neale brings a wealth of broadcast, connected TV and consumer electronics industry experience to his role of spearheading ACCESS in Internet Connected Devices. ACCESS is one of the world’s leading software providers for connected mobile, Digital TV, set-top boxes and other electronic consumer devices. Neale ensures that ACCESS develops software solutions that enable broadcasters, operators and consumer electronics manufacturers to connect the broadcast world with the consumer electronic world to successfully launch new business models and consumer services.. Follow him on Twitter / Linkedin