During a year that saw its merger with TiVo, the rollout of DTS AutoStage and the continued growth of HD Radio and all-digital AM, Xperi has doubled down on its mission to keep broadcast radio front-and-center in the connected car.
“All the new technologies we develop around radio are not only to help broadcasters connect with their audience on mobile or enhance their experience on RDS, but directly drive and improve user experience in the car,” Xperi Senior VP, Broadcast Radio Joe D’Angelo, the focus of NAB’s latest podcast, says. “We’re now in the connected car businesses in over 60 countries, working with close to 70,000 radio stations. It’s been a tremendous expansion of our services and technology, but it’s always been focused on helping radio compete in this connected world.”
The Xperi-TiVo merger has made the company a larger player in the metadata business, which has positively impacted its hybrid radio system, DTS AutoStage. “The core of that product is all around delivering rich metadata related to broadcast radio, to make radio more discoverable and engaging, and to help radio maintain its prominence in the dashboard of today’s connected vehicles,” D’Angelo says. Citing the company’s work with Daimler, which has adopted the system in their new cars in 60 countries, D’Angelo stresses the importance of metadata for radio. “In this digital world where discovery is critical and we’re looking even at voice interfaces, making sure that you inform your audience about how to find your platform is all about attaching meaningful metadata to your audio services.”
In terms of HD Radio, D’Angelo says, “The automotive industry continues to support the technology. We’re [at] about 2,500 stations now in the U.S. [with] around 80 million cars on the road with [HD], adding 8½ to 9½ million cars a year. We’re currently available on over 312 different vehicle models from all 44 major car companies, and of those, 193 are actually standard, where you can’t get the car without HD Radio.” As for its U.S. penetration, D’Angelo notes that while the average is at 33%, certain markets index higher such as New York (52%), Houston (38%) and Ft. Myers, FL (41%). “[If] you’re a broadcaster thinking, should I make the investment in HD Radio, is there an audience out there that can listen to it, the answer is yes,” he says. “In some markets, upwards of 50% of your in-car listening will be done on HD Radio.”
Xperi’s D’Angelo is also upbeat about return on stations’ investment for these technologies. “We’re seeing radio stations monetizing the multi-cast channels, [especially] leveraging the Quu Interactive technology to create synchronized and enhanced visuals around their audio ads, realizing an increased price point for ads that include visual text or a visual image,” he says. “We’re encouraged to see broadcasters taking advantage of all the capabilities the technology offers and presenting that to their customers, and their customers are reacting: they want this new, enhanced radio product.”
Another area where the company sees growth? All-digital AM. “We have about 35 stations that have licensed the technology,” D’Angelo says. “Currently, only three are on the air, but all of those have seen a significant uptick in ratings.”
During the podcast, D’Angelo focuses on Xperi’s longtime commitment to broadcast radio’s battle for in-car listening. “What you’re up against is what Apple, Google, Facebook and YouTube are doing to get into the car to take your ear share from the driver,” he says. “We designed DTS AutoStage [so] that radio would always have prominence. The threat from Big Tech is real, the response has to be coordinated and reliable and deliver a compelling user experience. I think AutoStage checks all those boxes.”