500,000 subscribers for Clear Channel’s traffic solution

U.S.-based Clear Channel Radio’s Total Traffic Network (CCTTN) today announced that half a million active and current paid users are now signed up for the company’s real-time traffic service delivered over RDS-TMC.

“Four out of the top five navigation suppliers choose CCTTN for their real-time traffic data”, said CCTTN. The current partners of Clear Channel include BMW, MINI USA, Volvo, Garmin, TomTom, NAVIGON, Mio Technology, Delphi, Kenwood, Clarion, Harmon Kardon, Panasonic, Siemens and Cobra Electronics. Clear Channel’s Total Traffic Network serves 65 markets with RDS-TMC in the United States as well as Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto in Canada.

Clear Channel’s competitor, NAVTEQ Traffic RDS offers coverage in 49 metropolitan markets in the United States and in Toronto, Canada. Navteq’s traffic is also served via satellite radio in 79 major metropolitan U.S. markets, mainly to in-dash navigation customers. Additionally, Navteq also provides its traffic data through MSN Direct essentially to a handful of Garmin devices.

This half million subscribers, while very encouraging for the industry, show that the penetration of real-time traffic information is still in its infancy, in the low single digit percent among GPS navigation users (PND and in-dash solutions).

Navigon: bundling lifetime traffic subscribtion
Navigon: bundling lifetime traffic subscribtion
The bundle of lifetime RDS-TMC traffic subscription with a navigation device, initiated by Navigon for the U.S. PND market, and in many cases offered by car manufacturers, has demonstrated to be an important driver of penetration. Improvement in the quality of the reception (by portables navigation solutions) and in the integration of the data (in routing algorithms) are also likely to drive a larger consumer interest.

If we assume that mainstream consumers will continue to prefer a low cost, no subscription, out of the box navigation experience, then RDS-TMC – and other technologies using the radio wave such as MSN Direct or HD Radio - are likely to remain a key delivery method for real-time traffic for many years to come in the United States and elsewhere.

Wednesday, July 16th 2008

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