Bundesliga develops in-car entertainment service

19 December 2023 – Car manufacturers are looking for ways to make every ride in their vehicles as pleasurable as possible using leading-edge digital technology. The delivery of relaxing, entertaining and emotionally appealing content must be accomplished in a way that ensures maximum road safety – which means audio only while driving, and additional video as long as the car is stationary.

Immersive media experience on the road

The magic word: Immersive In-Car Entertainment. “This term stands for a host of entirely new options to orchestrate and personalise content specifically for people travelling in cars, and to even adapt that content to the given traffic situation,” explains Dr Roman Schade, Head of Audiovisual Rights National at DFL. “At the same time, it is an emerging, additional differentiator for vehicle manufacturers that is likely to become more and more important.”

Smart in-car entertainment interacts with both, the driver and the car’s integrated systems, responding promptly and flexibly to the given status of the car – in motion, stopped, or stationary. Instead of running a fixed programme like a conventional broadcasting station, content providers generate video clips that can be played automatically as soon as the car stops moving, if so desired by the driver. DFL, working closely with BMW, is the world’s first major professional football league to test how in-car entertainment can be combined with Bundesliga content. The trial includes both, live and on-demand content, configured to cater for the user’s personal preferences. Similar to other DFL services, users can specify their favourite clubs in order to receive content tailored to their preferences.

Bundesliga live on the go

The concept is particularly promising for Bundesliga matchdays. How can drivers follow live games while staying fully focused on driving safely? “An in-car entertainment system makes broadcasts of live matches available visually and in audio. Whenever the car moves, the audio track of the original broadcast remains active, while the live video is temporarily switched off to avoid distraction. The next time the vehicle stops, for example at a traffic light, the system can play video clips of recent key scenes from the running match. There are even feeds for stop-and-go traffic, designed specifically to ensure road safety,” explains Schade. But even when no-one is playing, AI-generated, personalised short video clips are available for watching any time the car isn’t moving. Using a menu on the screen of the vehicle’s entertainment system, the driver can choose from a range of content units of various lengths.

Personalisation goes even further: Beyond the ability to select the desired content, the immersive media experience can include certain vehicle functions. “For instance, when the driver’s favourite club scores a goal, the interior lights of the car or the seat could be made to respond in a specific, pre-programmed way, provided the car manufacturer offers such a feature,” says Schade.

And when no matches are going on, there is a huge selection of summaries, reports, background stories, documentaries, scenes and statistical information to listen to and/or watch. In vehicles with separate passenger screens, uninterrupted video enjoyment is possible for those who aren’t at the wheel, turning the car into a virtual grandstand. For the autonomous vehicle of the future, on-the-road entertainment programming of any kind will play an even bigger role.

When traffic jams and road construction stop being a nuisance

Against the background of these developments, being able to provide custom content is getting more important for car manufacturers. While evaluating important data and insights collected during the current trial with BMW, DFL pushes on developing new ways to supply football fans with entertainment and deliver personalised Bundesliga information on the road.