This Blog was also posted on Ad Age Songs For Soap in November 2007
More Automotive Brands Are Taking In Car Entertainment To New Levels
This week has seen both Volvo and Ford Motor Company announcing significant new developments in their “dashboard installation” programs.
Volvo is now embracing next generation HD Technology (http://www.hdradio.com/press_room.php?newscontent=248) It will let Volvo drivers take advantage of subscription-free high-definition broadcasting, which is currently available on more than 1,500 U.S. AM and FM radio stations, as well as some 700 free "HD2 multicast" channels available on the FM radio dial.
In addition to the sound-quality improvement, Volvo says, "valuable information" on the HD radio screen will include traffic and weather updates, information about song titles and artists being played, and emergency alerts. This will give BMW some competition in the HD Radio space , where it has been fitting HD Radios as standard from 2004 on selected models and across the whole fleet from 2007
Meanwhile over in the satellite radio sector Ford is expanding its roll out of factory fitted Sirius satellite receivers (http://media.ford.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=21284 ) across all Ford Models (Ford, Lincoln , Mercury, Land Rover , Jaguar, Volvo and Mazda). The company has already installed over 1 million receivers to date , which is still some way behind GM who puts its 1 millionth XM Satellite receiver into a car way back in 2004. Though with Sirius and XM set to merge the satellite dashboard battle will be eliminated.
This is great news for consumers who have an ever-increasing supply of high quality programming on channels that cover all musical tastes & genres from bluegrass to classical as well as numerous talk stations. It’s also is good news for brands; though advertising is limited on a number of satellite and HD channels , where it is allowed it provides better targeted and better sound quality opportunities to get the brand message across. So both brands and consumers can enjoy the car ride, unless they invent TIVO for radio!
Mike Tunnicliffe, former global advertising executive at Interpublic , is a music and entertainment entrepreneur and adviser on brand-integration development to a number of music-related businesses and clients. Tunnicliffe is also the business and personal manager of a select group of musical artists. Originally from Manchester, England, he spent most of his career in London and now resides in New York