Clear Channel Expands iHeart Radio Into Select Auto Brands

The battle for the dashboard continues, with digital radio rivals moving to increase their reach and bolster their advertising offerings. On Monday Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announced new original equipment manufacturer partnerships for dashboard integration of its digital iHeartRadio platform, while Pandora unveiled a new ad product targeting in-car listeners.
Clear Channel’s new OEM partnerships include deals integrating iHeartRadio into Jaguar Land Rover 2014 vehicles equipped with Bosch SoftTec's InControl Apps platform; Volvo vehicles equipped with Sensus Connect; and Kia vehicles equipped with UVO. The integration includes iHeartRadio’s over 1,500 live station streams as well as iHeartRadio Talk, offering on-demand news, talk and entertainment content. The dashboard app features a simple menu, large text and touch targets, and an interface intended to reduce distracting light during night driving.
Clear Channel also announced a partnership with Bosch SoftTec, which specializes in automotive software and dashboard-smartphone integration, to make iHeartRadio more widely available. A number of carmakers already offer iHeartRadio dashboard integration, including Chrysler, Ford, GM, Lexus, Lincoln, Nissan and Toyota.
Separately, Pandora is looking to monetize its in-car audience with a new ad product that includes 15- and 30-second audio spots running via dashboard integrations in 130 vehicle models from 23 major brands, in addition to after-market device integration in 270 other models, as reported in Media Daily News earlier today. Launch sponsors include BP, Ford, State Farm, and Taco Bell, all of which are receiving exclusivity in their categories. Pandora claims to have an in-car audience of over 4 million people.
These latest moves come amid increasing competition in the digital radio space in general, including Apple’s launch of iTunes Radio in September and the debut of a new, ad-supported mobile music service from Spotify.

Also in September, national broadcast radio group Cumulus took a stake in the parent company of Rdio, Pulser Media, in exchange for exclusive content, media and on-air promotional commitments over a five-year period. In December TargetSpot, which operates a digital radio ad network, merged with Radionomy, which operates a platform for digital radio broadcasters and producers in the U.S. and Europe.
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