Global partnership puts Aha streaming radio into Mazda's best-selling model

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - 11:40am

In-car infotainment platform Aha by Harman announced that the new 2014 Mazda3 (for American and Japanese markets, as well as select other North American and Asian countries) will offer access to Aha's free service of more than 40,000 audio and information stations.

Aha will be Mazda's in-car solution to access podcasts, radio stations, news, entertainment, audiobooks, music, Facebook and Twitter feeds, and personalized location-based services.

Station partners include AccuRadio, CBC, EMF, NPR, CBS's Radio.com, SHOUTcast, Slacker, SomaFM, and others.

TuneIn adds MBC Radio content, Aha adds CRN Talk streams

Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 9:35am

Two online audio content aggregators have announced new partnerships to bolster their offerings this week.

TuneIn has added channels and podcasts from MBC Radio, Korea’s largest radio broadcasting company. TuneIn counts over 70,000 radio stations and two million on-demand programs in its service, which powers over 200 devices (smartphones, car entertainment systems, and other connected devices).

Aha by Harman similarly organizes audio content (live and on-demand) for in-car interfaces as well as Android and iOS mobile devices. Aha has added the CRN Digital Talk Radio network's seven channels to its global offering.

Here's what else is happening in Internet radio

Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 6:00am

We've been doing a lot of RAIN Summit West review lately (here and here, with more to come!), so we wanted to take a minute and pass along some other news that's out there. Some is from the NAB Show, some unrelated, but we hope you find it useful and interesting.

NAB's Smith urges embrace of "hybrid radio": NAB CEO Gordon Smith (right), in his "State of the Industry" address at the NAB Show Monday, urged broadcasters to find ways of providing content across platforms.

He described "radios in smartphones" as a "hybrid-radio" system combining on-air content with interactive enhancements. He also acknowledged broadcast radio's upcoming battle to maintain its dominance in the car dashboard. Billboard's coverage gave no indication of any mention of Internet radio or streaming. Read more in Billboard.biz here.

Aha Radio inks CBS News deal, launches Publisher Portal: Aha Radio by Harman announced Monday its partnership with CBS Radio News, bringing audio of the broadcaster's top news programs to Aha Radio listeners. Aha also launched its "Publisher Portal" by which anyone (following an approval process) can make content available on the Aha Radio system. There's more in Examiner.com here.

TargetSpot to deliver in-stream ads for Microsoft's Xbox Music Service: Online audio ad network TargetSpot announced it will deliver in-stream audio ads for the free version of the Xbox Music service (pictured) on the gaming console and Windows devices.

Former Triton exec Freund lands at Clip Interactive: Former EVP/Triton Media Group Bill Freund joins technology company Clip Interactive as VP/Chief Revenue Officer in preparation for a 2014 national rollout of the service which will allow mobile listeners to interact with broadcast radio content.

Global shipments of PCs fell 14% in first quarter: ZDNet calls that the worst drop in a generation, the steepest decline since 1994. The IDC (International Data Corporation) points to a number of factors -- like mobile, but also "a weak reception for Windows 8." Read more in ZDNet here.

Jelli says data shows increased social engagement helps ratings: Jelli has released data it says reveals a direct correlation between increased "social engagement" by broadcasters with listeners and increased listening (as reflected by ratings). The company measured weekly active registered users who were using its online or mobile app to vote to choose the music played during live broadcasts. It found as weekly social engagement rose 127%, weekly cume went up 30%.

Jelli says its data also shows these socially-engaged listeners engage with advertising more.

Net radio streaming service SurferNETWORK awarded patent: SurferNETWORK, a streaming vendor, was awarded its fifth "Buffering Patent" for technology that enables content streams "to start immediately," instead of waiting for playback while a cache of data loads.

Expert Summit panelists will discuss competing in "Darwinian" battle of content

Monday, March 25, 2013 - 1:15pm

In today's USA Today "Money" section (here), journalist Chris Woodyard suggests the very existence of AM/FM radio may be endangered by a wave of Internet-delivered audio entertainment in the car.

Most of us closer to the webcasting, broadcasting, and automotive industries doubt IP-delivered content in cars spells doom for American broadcasters. But that's certainly not to say it's not a crucial issue. Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs wrote last week (here), "The automakers are perfectly content to give consumers lots of choice and let Darwinian-driven choice take over. May the best content win. And that’s where radio needs to rethink its assumptions and givens."

RAIN Summit West (now just two weeks away on April 7 in Las Vegas) leads off by picking up this very important discussion. Moderated by Roger Lanctot from tech-focused research and consulting firm Strategy Analytics, the "Dashboard Discussions" panel will hash out some strategies for competing for the attention of drivers and passengers with a world of media options at their fingertips.

Paul Jacobs is president of jacAPPS, the mobile development division of Jacbos Media. At January's Consumer Electronics Show, Ford Motor Company named jacAPPS a "recommended mobile app development house" for its new Ford Developer Program. This means jacAPPS will develop, as well as work with other third-party developers, to create voice-activated smartphone apps for radio to work with Ford's SYNC AppLink (RAIN coverage here). Paul (pictured top-right) returns to RAIN Summit to share his insight on this topic. (Another panelist from the application side is TuneIn Radio's Carl Rohling.)

Chia-Lin Simmons is VP/Marketing & Content for electronics maker Harman International's Aha unit. Aha delivers entertainment and information content to connected vehicles, mobile phones, and in-home devices. She's responsible for all marketing strategy, she works to secure content partnerships, and she co-markets the Aha service with affiliate car makers, OEMs, and electronics makers. Simmons (left), who also co-hosts the On Digital Media podcast, will be a part of the panel. (Panasonic is another electronics manufacturer innovating in-car integration of mobile content. Panasonic's Hakan Kostepen will join us too.)

Obviously, we wouldn't have this discussion without hearing from broadcasters. Entercom Director/Digital Operations Amy Van Hook (lower-right) is a seasoned radio and digital veteran whose experience includes time as COO of radio-focused streaming media company Liquid Compass and Susquehanna Radio as Group Director of Interactive. Entercom makes its streams available in the TuneIn directory, works with social radio service Jelli on more than 100 of its stations, and is experimenting with on-air/online royalty deals with record label groups.

Read more about our "Dashboard Discussions" panel in RAIN here.

RAIN Summit West is Sunday, April 7 in Las Vegas. The annual full-day Internet radio conference is a co-located education program of the NAB Show. Now in its 12th year, the Summit focuses on the intersection of radio and the Internet. Keynoting will be RAB president and CEO Erica Farber (more in RAIN here) and Rhapsody International president Jon Irwin (more here). Register today, while space is still available, via the RAIN Summit West page. And look for the RAIN Reader Discount Code in the P.S. of your RAIN Daily e-mail (subscribe here).

Aha widens its in-car footprint with new Ford, Subaru, Chrysler, Porsche, and Alpine deals

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 12:10pm

More from the world of in-car Internet radio that's been announced at this week's CES... Harman's Aha Radio service (see today's story on Chrysler Uconnect) connects drivers with web-based entertainment and information via its Cloud Platform in a radio-like format.

As the result of some newly-announced deals, by the end of the year, Harman says "Aha will be installed into vehicles by more than 10 auto manufacturers which in total represent more than 50% of all cars sold in the USA/Canada and up to 30% in Europe."

Those new deals: In addition to joining Chrysler's new Uconnect system, this week Aha announced its app was added by Ford to its SYNC Applink platform, by Porsche for its Online Services system, and by Subaru in its brand new STARLINK connectivity system. Additionally, Alpine Electronics will become Aha's third major aftermarket partner with new in-dash units. Kenwood is launching 12 cloud-connected head units featuring Aha, with more to follow throughout 2013. Pioneer was the first company to ship an Aha-enabled product back in 2011.

Aha Radio makes more than 30-thousand stations of audio programming available to customers, including new media partners AccuRadio, Deezer, Rdio, and SomaFM. Aha listeners can also tune in to content from OK!, Men's Fitness, Popular Science, Parenting, Shape, Star, TV Guide, Men's Health and more. (That image is from Car and Driver.)

Honda to offer in-car web radio with HondaLink and Harman's Aha Radio

Thursday, July 19, 2012 - 12:40pm

HondaLinkHonda has become the latest carmaker to offer in-car web radio.

The company yesterday announced a new system called HondaLink, which incoporates Aha Radio (from audio-equipment supplier Harman) and includes built-in support for Pandora.

Like the systems offered by Ford, GM and other automakers, HondaLink reportedly relies on a smartphone to connect to the web. It's controlled via voice commands and in-dash buttons.

The system reportedly includes an in-dash app for Pandora, Slacker and Shoutcast streams. Besides web radio options, HondaLink includes podcasts, audio news feeds from Facebook and Twitter and other offerings. It will first be available in the 2013 Accord.

It's a good first step for Honda, but the company "has a long way to go," writes Wired. "There’s still a lot missing from HondaLink to make it competitive... for now this is just one small step for Honda, while the competition is already on its second lap."

You can find more coverage from Engadget here, The Verge here, Wired here and AutoWeek here.

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