Media consumption is at a saturation point. After rising steadily through much of the last decade, total digital time spent has been nearly static since the start of 2015. This means consumers' overall time spent watching TV shows, listening to music, or even scrolling through the news isn't budging, making it increasingly difficult for content producers to win over minutes of their time.
However, there is one platform poised to move the needle: the connected car. Although digital time spent is stagnating, time spent in the car is increasing as daily commutes become longer in the US. That will result in 900 million more minutes a day spent in cars by 2025, based on BI Intelligence estimates. The connected car will translate these hours into time that can be used to consume content by providing drivers with access to all their digital touchpoints via touchscreen interfaces and built-in connectivity.
Getting into the connected car will be critical for service providers, like media companies and commerce firms, that want to increase consumption and usage. The capabilities of the connected car are expanding at a rapid pace, and will become more robust over time, as technological advances enable additional features and more seamless integration. As this evolution progresses, there will be more opportunities for consumers to take in content, resulting in greater digital time spent. We've identified three trends tied to connectivity in the car that will drive this increase: the extension of the mobile ecosystem to the car, the growth of voice, and the promise of autonomy.
There are two main routes into the connected car: by building an app that works with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, or by integrating a service directly into a car’s infotainment center OS. Entering the car through a connected car app is by far the most accessible option, and is already a favorite among audio streaming companies and messaging services. Full integration, on the other hand, is more difficult but promises benefits like greater processing power and a more tailored experience. Down the line, integrating directly into the car's infotainment center will enable services like video streaming and gaming.
Meanwhile, the growth of ride-hailing is resulting in a burgeoning third pathway, as it turns more drivers into passengers. In 2016, [...]