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Conomos to chair miRoamer company

Huge deal: GM signed up to use an internet-based audio system developed in Melbourne.

Internet radio company Connexion Media to raise $6 million, list on the ASX

13 Jun 2014

Former Toyota Australia executive chairman John Conomos has been appointed chairman of the Melbourne company that owns the miRoamer Internet radio application, which is likely to be installed in millions of General Motors vehicles from next year.

The company, Connexion Media, has opened a prospectus and is offering up to 30 million shares to investors at 20 cents a share. If fully subscribed, the offer, which closes on July 3, will raise $6 million.

Mr Conomos headed Toyota Australia for decades and was the first non-Japanese executive to be appointed a managing director of the parent company, reporting directly to the board.

Since stepping down from Toyota Australia, Mr Conomos has been one of the federal government’s two automotive envoys, a role that is likely to end soon given the closure of the three local car-makers by 2017.

The managing director of Connexion Media will be George Pathimos, who led the development of the miRoamer app.

The miRoamer internet radio application (app) is one of only two such applications selected by General Motors for use in its web-enabled vehicles in Europe and the United States, beginning next year.

The giant German Volkswagen Group has also signed an agreement for use of the miRoamer app.

Having a built-in SIM card will be compulsory for all vehicles sold in Europe from 2015, while GM has announced that it will start selling web-connected vehicles in North America next year.

GM is currently running certification and compliance tests on the two Internet radio apps it plans to offer.

The miRoamer app gives access to every radio station around the world that can be streamed on the Internet. Drivers can select their desired stations or choose a package of news, rock and roll or jazz stations, depending on their preference.

The Connexion Media prospectus shows that having your product available in millions of GM vehicles will not provide automatic revenues or profits.

As with many internet-based services, Connexion Media will not make money simply by having its miRoamer application installed in millions of GM vehicles and used by drivers.

It will make money by selling advertising time on the miRoamer service, but that can only happen when there are sufficient drivers using the service to create an audience large enough to be worth addressing.

The prospectus indicates that advertising would be in the form of pre-roll advertising – ads that play before the selected application operates – ads placed with particular radio stations in certain territories, and banner advertising when miRoamer is accessed from a desktop or laptop.

However, this advertising is not expected to be the biggest source of revenue for Connexion Media.

“It is expected that the predominant revenue source for the company will be through the on-sale by the company of anonymous data collected by the company from the use of its apps,” directors say in the prospectus.

“The miRoamer app can collect several pieces of information, including information about radio stations listened to, navigation information and vehicle information (including, for example, tyre pressure and oil levels).”

This information will be the basis of a data analytics service Connexion Media will offer to interested parties. The information will be collected with the driver’s permission and transmitted anonymously to a central database.

“Where permitted, this data is proposed to be packaged and on-sold to advertisers, insurance companies, municipalities, automotive suppliers and fast-food restaurants for targeted advertising purposes,” directors say.

Connexion Media recently outlined this data analytics plan at the Telematics Detroit conference.

If car owners approve, the miRoamer platform would be able to amass all sorts of information about the vehicles in which it operates.

Insurance companies would be able to analyse driving patterns in particular cities or for particular models and dealers could be alerted if a vehicle needed servicing.

The float of Connexion Media is being conducted via a reverse takeover of a moribund mineral exploration company called ECSI Ltd. ECSI bought the company that owns miRoamer by issuing shares to miRoamer’s owner, giving it control of ECSI and miRoamer.

The issue of between 15 million and 30 million new shares will raise up to $6 million, giving ECSI Ltd, now renamed Connexion Media, the working capital necessary to develop and promote its products.

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