CES 2023 Key Trends

By Reggie Shah, Senior Director of Research and Insights, Audacy

It’s so exciting to be back at CES live and in person – covering the most influential tech event in the world. So how did the themes of the metaverse, connected cars, and the Audio universe play out? I spent time at panels across CES where conversations were about innovation and connection. We’ve got the boldest takes, greatest advances, and everything you missed. 

Web3, The Metaverse, & Shifts That Are Coming

Ask 5 people “What’s the metaverse?”, and you’re probably going to end up with 5 different answers. It made for a great panel by Variety, featuring leaders from Microsoft, Lionsgate, and Universal. Here are some of their metaverse definitions:

  • “It’s the next iteration of the internet, with 3D and immersive gamification”
  • “It’s based on consumer demand for experiential immersive experiences”
  • “A theme park is just a physical metaverse” 

We’re still early days and some challenges exist. Speakers compared the metaverse to the early years of AOL. Currently, the metaverse is a bunch of “walled gardens” without interoperability between these worlds. Blockchain was brought up as a solution to bridge these worlds together. On another panel, Audacy’s Ken Lagana highlighted Web3 as the opportunity for listeners to get even closer to the talent that they love.

Disruption: Media Platforms and Advertising

Jump to a panel of Audio powerhouses all on the stage, laying the groundwork for the role of disruption in media. Let’s get ready to rumble! Among other leaders, Audacy CMO, Paul Suchman was joined by iHeartMedia’s CMO, Gayle Troberman and SiriusXM’s SVP of Ad Innovation and B2B Marketing, Lizzie Widhelm. In true Audacy fashion, Paul disrupted the panel on disruption by making a bold statement: disruption is positive! Looking at podcasting alone, disruption has brought on so many different creators and genres, with more opportunities for Audio to connect deeply. It’s also an opportunity for advertisers to embrace Audio. When marketers truly embrace Audio’s reach, frequency, and precision, it’s going to be their “Holy Grail”. 

The Power of Purpose

Medialink hosted a fascinating conversation with the CMOs of Kellogg’s and Haleon (the new GSK + Pfizer). Kellogg’s has been around for 100+ years, anchored in purpose: Inclusivity, with a seat at the table for everyone. Not just feeding, but nourishing for impact on the world, people, and planet. They do this through the “KayWay” of inclusive marketing, such as rolling out connected packaging for low-sight individuals. Both Kellogg’s and Haleon are activating their brands with humanity. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it’s also necessary from a business perspective. Consumers, especially the younger ones, will switch brands based on purpose alone. 

EVs and the Connected Car

The Mobile Electronics Association unveiled new trends and forecasts for the future of mobility. S&P Global & TransUnion predict that 2027 will be the year that new vehicle registrations for EVs will overtake Hybrid, followed by 2029 for ICE (Internal Combustion Engines). This is big news for Audio, as we know that the EV in-cabin experience can be vastly different than ICE vehicles. Voice will continue to be integral in the connected car experience, as drivers are becoming frustrated by the excess screen navigation even just for simple commands. Also, EVs will require less servicing due to fewer parts but will introduce more subscriptions to the vehicle. Expect a change in Auto campaigns and messaging. 

1st Party Data for the Win

First party data remains the key strategy for media execs. Paul Suchman hosted Delta Airlines CMO, Tim Mapes, for a fireside chat at Brand Innovators. It was perfect timing as Delta had just announced that WiFi will soon be free on all Delta flights for SkyMiles members (yay!). Great move by Delta – happy customers, and more 1st party data. Right now, less than half of the passengers on Delta flights are SkyMiles members, so they’ve got a lot of room to grow. More 1st party data will give Delta the ability to super-serve passengers by providing a custom experience for every flight. Each seatback screen will be tailored to the customer based on this data, even celebrating important milestones like crossing into million mile status. That’s true connection, a brand promise that both Audacy and Delta share.

Want more from CES? Join us on January 17th as we recap the boldest insights coming out of CES, including innovation from auto, to Audio, the metaverse and beyond.  

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