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RAIN 6/26: Chrysler to offer in-car Internet in all 2009 models

Posted on: 06/26/2008

CHRYSLER PROMISES INTERNET IN CARS NEXT YEAR: Chrysler will reportedly announce today that they will include wireless Internet access as an option on all their 2009 models through their UConnect Web network. With the integration of online access, Internet radio would be delivered into cars, along with Wi-Fi connectivity for laptops and gaming systems. Said Chrysler engineer Keefe Leung, “There are no limitations in content.” The ramifications for radio are clear: broadcast radio’s relatively firm hold on listeners in cars will be challenged by the plethora of content and choices available online, while webcasters will hopefully see a boost in listenership as Chrysler provides one more way to untether Internet radio from the PC. Mark Ramsey and Fred Jacobs both have further commentary. While car safety advocates were concerned about the distraction of Internet in cars, Chrysler asserts that the online interface would be for passengers only. The car manufacturer hopes this innovation will help its struggling sales: the company has seen a 19.3% dip in sales since 2007, “the worst drop-off in the industry.” For more on the story read the L.A. Times’ coverage here.

AD SPENDING IN INTERNET TO OVERTAKE RADIO IN 2008: The head of Publicis Groupe SA’s ZenithOptimedia unit Steve King reported to Bloomberg that advertising spending online will surpass that in radio this year. Spending on Internet ads has risen 26% in 2008, and currently makes up 9.5% of ad budgets worldwide, King claimed (radio makes up 9%). The growth in online ad spending comes from an increase in how much time consumers spend online. Users spend 15% of their time online, and 19% of the world’s population uses the Internet compared to 17% last year. King predicts this growth will mean online ad spending will overtake that spent in magazine advertisements by 2010. But, said King, the growth in online advertisements has a mutually beneficial effect on radio: “Radio is still growing, funnily enough, because of digital.” Read Bloomberg’s full article here.

PERFORMANCE FEE APPROVED BY SUBCOMMITTEE: The House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property passed the bill imposing a performance royalty fee on broadcast radio (RAIN coverage here and here) in a vote today. The bill now will be voted on by the full Judiciary Committee, then pass to the House floor as early as this year. However, a resolution backed by the NAB opposing the bill recently gained support of the House majority (RAIN coverage here). Despite claims from the supporters of the performance fee bill that changes have been made to protect small and local radio stations, NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton said, “It will be increasingly clear as the process moves forward that there is broad bipartisan opposition.” For more coverage read CNNMoney.com’s article here.

BIG NAMES, AND THEIR WALLETS, BACK NET RADIO SITE: The Kraft Group — headed by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft — was the lead investor in BlogTalkRadio.com, an online talk radio broadcasting network, which reportedly raised $4.6 million in Series A financing. Other investors included ex-hedge-fund manager Scott Sipprelle among other private supporters. The online radio network, which reportedly airs 400 broadcasts a day with a listenership of 3.2 million in May, plans to use the money towards ad sales, increasing brand awareness, and developing content—including adding video support. For more, read BlogTalkRadio.com’s press release here.

STREAMING RADIO TO iPHONE THROUGH JAILBREAK APP: An iPhone port of VLC — a popular media player for desktop computers — called vlc4iphone not only plays a wider range of video and music formats, but streams Internet radio and online video as well. Currently in beta, the application, while free, can only be used on jailbroken devices, and transferring files will reportedly “likely be a manual process requiring a working knowledge of FTP, SMB or AFP.” No file transfers would be required to listen to online streams however, so vlc4iphone looks to be another (albeit not Apple-approved) work-around for Internet radio access on iPhones (other work-arounds featured in RAIN here and here). For more, read APC’s coverage here.

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  1. Awesome! I’ve been keenly interested in this new emerging technology since I’ve first watched it on foxnews channel. I’m seeing a great potential for this technology which can probably drive Chrysler’s sales for 2009. Also, I’m predicting this will be the trend and most other car companies will follow suit and would not dare leave themselves behind on this.

    uconnectweb · Jun 28, 07:56 AM · #

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