Smart Partnerships for Smart Radios

This week Radioplayer announced the renewal of our partnership agreement with AUDI and the VW Group, extending the collaboration which started in 2017, and laying the foundation for a longer-term relationship. Not only will Radioplayer continue to supply official broadcaster metadata to power the hybrid radios in VW Group cars already in the market (including AUDIs, VWs, Porsches and Lamborghinis), but we will also collaborate on the future radio user experience for VW Group vehicles.

This agreement is also a great endorsement and example of our partnership model – OEMs benefitting from a direct relationship with broadcasters through Radioplayer and our unique high-value, low-cost services. Our official metadata, tech and user interface design support are free of charge (as a non-profit we do ask for a contribution to the costs of setting up access to our metadata) and as the automotive sector emerges from the COVID 19 pandemic in a difficult economic climate, we hope this can help ensure radio development projects, particularly on hybrid radio, remain on-track and unaffected.

Much has been written about the impact of the pandemic on the automotive sector, and there’s no doubt that investment is being scaled back and projects streamlined, potentially leading to a reduction in the number of partners and suppliers. The good news is that hybrid ‘smart’ radio still seems to be on the agenda of most OEMs, mainly because it delivers the best radio user experience while also linked to broader connected infotainment plans. In these challenging times Radio has also proved its value, with listening figures growing as people seek out news, entertainment, and human companionship over the airwaves.

Of course, the pandemic is likely to impact wider automotive trends with implications for future radio developments. Will expensive development of autonomous vehicles be delayed? Could the oil slump accelerate the move away from petrol and diesel towards alternative fuels? Could we see a reverse of car ownership trends with younger age groups turning away from public transport and back to cars? Could this in turn speed up a move to shared car subscriptions rather than direct ownership? Understanding these trends and the impact on longer-term roadmap planning is an important part of how we want to work and enable collaboration between Radioplayer broadcasters and OEM partners.

We know the immediate future will be challenging and unpredictable, but there are some certainties. People will still need to get around. Radio will remain important as a human connection to the world. And companies will need to innovate at the lowest possible cost.

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