Spotify's plans to take ownership of in-car audio
Spotify's Marco Bertozzi in conversation with Mediatel CEO Greg Grimmer
With plans to launch curated driving playlists and increase investment in podcasts, audio streaming service Spotify has declared that it is "absolutely focused" on growing its share of in-car listening.
Currently, live radio is the most common type of in-car audio consumption via both FM/AM and DAB radio sets. According to Ofcom's Media Nations 2019 report, only 8% of those surveyed said they listened to music via a streaming service while driving, and just 4% listened to podcasts.
However, the ability to stream music or audio via a phone is now one of the most common connected car technologies available, which Spotify's VP of EMEA sales, Marco Bertozzi, sees as an opportunity for growth.
"With hundreds of millions of connected cars over the next couple of years, [in-car audio] is a space that we are absolutely focused on," he said at Mediatel's Future of Audio conference this week.
Listeners are increasingly keen to "start their own radio show" by choosing their own audio content, Bertozzi claimed - a trend he said he expected to grow as voice assistants are introduced into connected cars, enabling drivers to select content hands-free.
However, he admitted that the combination of "spoken word" content and music offered by live radio is an important part of the in-car listening experience, and is a gap which Spotify is trying to fill with podcasts.
Earlier this year, the audio streaming service launched Your Daily Drive in the US - a daily, personalised playlist for users which combines podcast and music content based on each user's listening habits. The feature also launched in Germany earlier this month and, though not officially launched in the UK, can be found in-app if searched for.
Podcasts can be as short as a few minutes long, Bertozzi said, adding that Spotify is planning to increase its investment in original podcast content produced via the Spotify Studio.
"Your Daily Drive is where we're trying to bring the podcasting and music experience together,” he said. "That is something we will continue to lean into."
Bertozzi added that by focusing its attention on the in-car listening experience, Spotify is offering advertisers an alternative to radio and outdoor when trying to reach consumers on their commutes.
"Now we're going to advertisers and saying: 'We know they're in the car, the signal is telling us they are, and they're listening.'
"So you can with certainty advertise into that environment and know you'll reach them in the moment you want."
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