What if FM listeners could talk back to radio advertisers and get new deals, directions to a sale or even pay a fee to avoid ads altogether? Livio CEO, Jake Sigal has invented a technology to do just that with FM Connect. The system is a patent-pending, in-vehicle hardware and software solution that allows FM broadcasters to create two-way links with listeners through Bluetooth-connected smartphones. Traditional radio only offers one-way communication from the broadcast tower to the FM tuner. FM Connect system incorporates software which is added to in-dash head units (car stereos) to give listeners a way to interact with traditional radio broadcasts using their smartphone.
There is no change to the FM audio broadcast using the FM Connect system and its only activated when the listener has a smartphone connected to their vehicle.
RBR-TVBR asked Sigal:
How does the system connect directly with the advertisers? Email? Text? Social Media?
When a vehicle is FM Connected a generic ad spot (still heard by everyone that is not FM Connected) can be replaced with a targeted ad spot. The driver interacts with a targeted advertisement from their vehicle head unit and their response is handled by a connected smartphone and communicated to the advertiser. The FM Connect™ system has many interactive and customized elements of a digital radio experience, including customized weather, traffic or social media updates, user feedback responses, promotions, polling, fundraising services based on location, coupons, and CPC / CPA advertising.
Does it get on the air?
The content provided via FM Connect is downloaded from a server to the driver’s smartphone and activated via FM-RDS transmission from the broadcaster to the vehicle to the smartphone. This allows the broadcaster to interact with the driver without a hardware requirement for the radio station. The FM Connect system code is added to the broadcaster’s scheduling system and digital markers are transmitted over FM-RDS. RDS commands are encoded and are not visible to users on their head unit display.
What is the revenue model?
Pricing information hasn’t yet been released but is available upon request from broadcasters.
What stations and advertisers are on board so far?
Livio just unveiled this at CES 2013 but anticipates several radio networks before the end of the year.