Metadata is crucially important for radio broadcasters who want to make their content discoverable for car drivers at a time of a “true revolution” in the automotive industry.

Laurence Harrison, Director of Automotive Partnerships at Radioplayer UK, told the IBC Conference session New Opportunities and New Audiences on DAB+ that 25-50% of radio listening takes place in the car.

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(L-R): Jacqueline Bierhorst, Digital Radio NL; Gereon Joachim, Xperi; Lindsay Cornell, BBC; Laurence Harrison, Radioplayer UK

The organisation’s 2021 Car Buyers Survey showed that 89% of purchasers rank broadcast radio as the most important audio feature in-car, more than online music services, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. “The statistics are very clear on the importance that car buyers place on broadcast radio,” Harrison said.

Lindsay Cornell, Principal Systems Architect, BBC, and Chairman, WorldDAB Technical Committee, said metadata – the text and images that enhance the audio experience – is a “dry topic” but is “really rather marvellous”.

This point was underlined by Gereon Joachim, Vice President Automotive Sales & Strategy, EMEA at Xperi, who noted that the car industry is undergoing an electrification and automation revolution that is impacting on radio broadcasters.

“If someone tells you today that the station logo on its own is good enough, that is wrong. If someone tells you that radio is the only entertainment source in the car, that is wrong,” said Joachim.

Companies like Apple and Google are currently fighting for position on the car dash, he said, while services such as podcasts, audiobooks and streaming services like Spotify are in-car competitors to radio.

Joachim said that the introduction of autonomous and semi-autonomous cars is going to change the driving experience. “There’s going to be more time available for other tasks. So what do occupants in the car do in the future? They will consume content - content that they can find and content they like.”

Joachim added: “To make your content discoverable, it needs to be visible – and this is what metadata does.”