Internet radio company Pandora begins targeting the car-bound and on-foot commuter with apps that enable its music service in autos and mobile devices.
Why does it matter?
The car-loving US commuter has long been a great target for both advertising and PR, primarily through local and national radio and to a lesser extent satellite campaigns. But the recent introduction of Internet-enabled systems within cars gives drivers access to all types of online content.
In addition, rather than specifically target drivers to work, Pandora, which boasts 75 million-plus registered users, wants to reach consumers wherever they are, including those who go to work on public transit or even on foot.
Pandora can tailor a music channel to individual tastes. But with no DJs or talk, it appears to present limited PR opportunities. Still, Matt Ostrower, senior manager of artist relations, says Pandora has served as a platform for several successful public affairs campaigns that combine audio with links for more information on its site.
"We recently did a nonprofit campaign with Ford Sync where John Legend discussed education reform," he says. "It made our audience aware of the charities behind him."
John Irving, MD of Strauss Radio Strategies, notes that terrestrial radio remains the top platform for targeting US commuters with PR messages.
"Many radio station newsrooms have downsized, so it's a real service to provide them good content, which in many ways makes PR more valuable to radio news producers," adds Irving. "We've also spent the past few years educating clients about the synergies between radio and the Internet."
1 Market research firm Vision Critical found 9% of US drivers already stream online content from their smartphones through their car stereo system
2 Arbitron reported that US radio listenership rose by 3.3 million last year, adding that 93% of Americans 12 and older listen to radio at least once a week
3 More than three in four US workers drive alone to and from work, according to US Census data from 2000, the most recent published findings