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No more engagement rings: how Gracenote wants to personalize radio ads in your car

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Here’s the number one reason why I hate commercial radio: I got married eight years ago, but to this day, my car radio is bombarding me with ads for engagement rings. Every single time.

Media recognition technology provider Gracenote (S SNE) now wants to change that by bringing ad targeting to terrestrial radio in the car. The company is showing off the next generation of its automotive platform at CES in Las Vegas next month, and Gracenote President Stephen White told me during a demo of the technology a few days ago that this could eventually be used to dynamically insert more relevant ads into traditional radio programming.

Check out my interview with White, and a demo of Gracenote’s automotive platform:

Gracenote has been cooperating with auto makers for more than ten years, and the company recently announced that its technology is now available in 50 million cars worldwide. Initially, Gracenote just identified music played on car CD players, but it’s increasingly also identifying songs played on the radio. Now, the company is looking to more closely connect music played on terrestrial radio with online music services, helping users to build on-demand playlists based on the song that just played on a radio station.

However, Gracenote has also been building ad insertion technology for TV for some time. The next step is to bring that very same technology to the car, where listeners could be profiled based on the music they play, the car they drive, their location and other aspects to insert more relevant ads into the programming delivered from traditional terrestrial radio.

Of course, the TV industry has talked about dynamic ad insertion for years, and little has actually been done and implemented, so it might take some time before the same technology gets adopted by radio stations.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock photographer Cristi Lucaci.

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