One of the most noticeable changes to the automobile in recent years is the in-dash entertainment system. BMW has iDrive, Ford has MyFord Touch, Cadillac has CUE, and so on. Many consumers enjoy the benefits of these systems, which allow radio, HVAC, navigation, and other functions to be controlled from a single space on the dash. With the growth of internet video streaming, customers are looking more and more for constant connectivity within their cars. However, this technology and capability will not come cheap. How can we continue to increase the technology within our cars entertainment systems without driving costs, for both producers and consumers, through the roof?
General Motors thinks they may have an answer. GM thinks it may be able to make these systems more affordable to the consumer by passing the cost on to advertising companies. Think of a hot new, free, iPhone application for a second. Who is paying for you to have that game? The developer did not create it out of the goodness of his heart, he is either charging you, through the app store, or he is charging companies to advertise within his game. Those pop-ups and banner ads within the app are what makes it possible and free. GM is considering bringing that mentality to its in-car entertainment systems.
Starting in 2014 GM will offer begin offering 4G connected Internet streaming within its in car entertainment systems. It proposes to lower the cost of this service by having companies pay to advertise within the system. Although the details have yet to be ironed out, it is an interesting concept.
For me personally, if it would halve the cost of the service to have an “Allstate” banner run along the bottom of the screen while streaming a video, then I would have no problem with the service. However, if advertisements were to appear offline and were any more intrusive then a simple banner, I would be hard pressed to agree with that service.
Automotive news website, Autoblog.com posted a poll on its website asking, “Would you allow advertisements on your car’s infotainment system?” An overwhelming majority (92%) replied no.
Whether or not these kinds of advertisements can even be avoided is an interesting topic for discussion. Does GM risk alienating customers with this inclusion, or will the cheap advancements in technology be worth a few well-integrated advertisements?