Company News · December 6, 2012

The State of Telematics and In-Car Entertainment – An Interview with Livio’s Jake Sigal

By Megan Lazovick

One year after Edison’s 30 Under 30, we checked in with one of our honorees: Jake Sigal, Founder and CEO of Livio Radio. He updated us on his experience with in-car media and entertainment–a topic we researched in last year’s study, The Road Ahead: Media and Entertainment in the Car:

Q: We first met back in 2011 at Telematics Detroit. You and your team had tremendous energy and a great presentation. How has Livio Radio evolved since then?

Jake: First thanks for that, we hustle pretty hard out here. We’ve been real busy focusing on getting content that you normally would listen to, look at, watch or get information from on your smart phone–stuff that you use on your iPhone or Android–and getting it safely to a driver while in a vehicle. The most recent thing we’ve announced is that we are now inside the Chevy Spark on the Chevy Spark Radio. We’re powering an app called TuneIn that gives a driver access to about 50,000 radio stations from all over the world. We’re also gearing up for CES, and we’ve got a variety of announcements including new app partners and announcements with some new hardware and head unit partners. And we’re pretty much trying to lead the charge on how to allow drivers to get access to all their favorite content through their smart phone, regardless of what part of the world they are in or what their favorite apps are.

Q: Attending the [Telematics] conference really opened our eyes to how the technology in these cars could change the Radio industry. How does Terrestrial radio stay relevant when Internet radio is available in vehicles?

Jake: Well, I think that it’s going to be a hybrid. I think for people that are looking for a lean-forward experience–that’s a very common term used in our industry with Radio– when leaning forward you want to choose your playlist. The ultimate lean forward is bringing your iPod in the car or having your MP3 selection in a more generic sense. And a lean-back experience is listening to your favorite AM or FM radio station. So when you talk about music it’s all about lean-forward or lean-back. If you’re going to lean back, you could have customized, tailored radio from services like Pandora and others, and that’s great. I think that the majority of people are still fine with what they are getting with terrestrial broadcasters, but they are looking for the ability to have a two way connection between them and the DJ, or them and the broadcaster or advertiser, if they want to save a deal or save something they heard on the radio.

I don’t see terrestrial radio ever going away, and not everyone is always going to have their phone connected to their car when they are driving. I think that radio is a really important part of what’s going to be going on in the car, and terrestrial is just one form of distribution. So the content is really what’s important. How its delivered to the user–whether it’s over broadcast or AM or FM–that’s kind of irrelevant. If you are in the technology business you are focusing on how can users affordably get content, and broadcast is still the most affordable way to distribute content. But the actual choice of music or content that you will be getting, you can send that out through a variety of other channels.

Q: Last year Edison selected you as one of Radio’s 30 Under 30 Honorees. We’d love for you to pay it forward and recognize young talent making an impact in the industry.

Jake: The guys from 8 tracks and Songza. They came in a pretty crowded space and have found a way to provide new benefits to users for audio, and that’s cool. They’ve found a sweet spot in between the lean-forward and lean-back experiences.

Jake also mentioned that Livio Radio is hiring – another great way to pay it forward!

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