At the LA Auto Show, it became clear that the tech media industry is trying to infiltrate the automotive industry. They are trying to change the rules and it could be very costly to car-oriented websites and media. Let’s see why. CNET a website which started reviewing technology was at the show in full force. Starting off at the Connected Car Expo, CNET had a big media presence with live-streaming the car announcements like they live stream Apple announcements. Car-oriented websites and automakers should beware.
We’re seeing ad spending on the tech websites, like never before about Wi-Fi hotspots, SYNC 3 and specific car models.
Tech reviewers tend to spend very little time with devices. Three days with one electric car, without a home charger caused a mediocre review.
Tech reviewers like to make the ecosystem be just one – Apple. One technology news site named just one car the best car for everyone. Yes an iPad will work for most people but there are hundreds of car models out there, each with its unique style and worth to car buyers.
Tech reviewers don’t understand how much engineering and work goes into the development of an infotainment system design. I’ve seen a couple of reviews of infotainment that just say, “It sucks,” without saying why it does.
Tech reviewers are used to writing several articles a day. The tech world moves quickly, however, when you only have a few hours to write about an entire vehicle which took five years to develop, you can’t deliver a fair review.
Strategy Analytics’ analyst Roger Lanctot railed against Yahoo’s David Pogue’s decision that the best car technology is either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto without giving any other system a chance. In the video, Pogue looks at car’s head unit screen and just shakes his head.
These kinds of attitudes are seeping in the automotive reviewing world which is sad. A misjudged car review is different from a misjudged cell phone review. Most people keep their phone for a year or two with costs for the phone around $20 a month as part of the phone plan. Car buying is a much more costly decision with the average car payment at $473 a month and the average lease payment at $407 a month for a gas-powered vehicles. One car payment is about the price of smartphone, tablet or computer.
Automotive reviewers need to be practical, earthy and sensitive. We need an understanding of the look, feel and the life style of the car. With some cars costing more than the price of house, it is a major buying decision.
So why are technology reviewers moving into the automotive field?
- Google and Apple have moved into the car space because they have a lot of money and are running out of places to expand.
- It has been reported that Apple has hired 1800 employees to work on cars.
- Google is pushing to get is self-driving cars on the road.
- Autonomous driving requires a lot of computing power, devices and software.
- It getting to be cool to be an automotive reviewer.
- $$$$ – Tech websites are losing ad revenue because people are not upgrading.
Car coverage has to meticulous, precise and knowledgeable. Tech coverage has to be fast because in a few days something new appears.
In a conversation a the Connected Car Expo, I told a major industry insider that I would like to bring technology coverage to automotive review websites. He commented, “It’s about time!”
Car news and review websites need the tech coverage to pull the tech crowd away from the tech sources that have told them what tablet to use. That’s why I have spent the last few years covering the connected car industry as a whole. I write from both an automotive and technology perspective. I understand tech and I understand cars. I understand the car buying process since I recently purchased a car from a dealer. I also understand the tech media blitz.
Research shows that car buyers plan on researching technology before buying.
A smart media source would offer both car and technology news and reviews.
—- Update 11/30/2015
I did sense something in the air at the LA Auto Show
Today, the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) announced today that Roadshow by CNET, the soon-to-be launched brand new auto destination by CNET, will be the official digital news and video partner for the 2016 event. Through the partnership, Roadshow, will host live-streaming of daily press conferences, interviews with industry luminaries and real-time news coverage from the show floor booth. Roadshow is designed to explore what it means to be a driver in today’s rapidly changing automotive landscape.
- Emme Hall – for reviews editor.
- Chris Paukert, editor, from Autoblog.
- Andrrew Krok, associate news editor from Web2Carz.com.
- Jon Wong from Autoweek.
Another major tech site TechRadar announced Anh Tuan Huynh as the Auto Tech Editor. In his role, Huynh will lead the editorial efforts surrounding the boom in technology integration in today’s automobiles.
Let the tech publishers vs the automotive publishers race begin!