Alan Burns: Radio vs. Personalized Music Streams
Burns Provides Exclusive Info To All Access Readers
July 20, 2012 at 7:06 AM (PT)
iHEART RADIO's awareness and usage is growing at a much faster rate than PANDORA's, says data released today by ALAN BURNS AND ASSOCIATES.
BURNS AND ASSOCIATES unveiled the Digital Battleground portion of its annual study of women radio listeners in the second of four webinars. According to BURNS SVP JEFF JOHNSON, "iHEART's awareness grew five times faster than PANDORA's in the past year, and while PANDORA usage increased 10%, iHEART's nearly doubled. PANDORA has a significant lead in both measures, but iHEART is catching up fast. That shows the power of radio, when it's focused, to drive awareness of a new product."
That shows the power of radio, when it's focused, to drive awareness of a new product.
"Personalized music streams are not what women say is limiting their radio usage," commented CEO ALAN BURNS. "After time spent watching television, women cite 'too many commercials' as their radio usage limiter. And commercials are a big factor in the growth of personal stream usage. The top two advantages of personalized music streams for women are customization and fewer commercials. These women think they hear about 80% fewer commercials in personalized streams."
BURNS noted that the move by cell phone carriers away from unlimited data plans will likely have beneficial effects for radio over time. "As VERIZON and others move from unlimited to pay-per-minute buckets, it's going to attach a specific cost to listening to streaming music on your phone and/or in your car," he said, "and we've seen in our data that very few women are willing to pay to listen. Radio over the air will still be free, and thus in an even better competitive position than it is now."
YESTERDAY's webinar was hosted live from a session at THE CONCLAVE in MINNEAPOLIS. Next week, BURNS releases Top 40-specific data in a webinar entitled "Deep Dive Into Top 40."
BURNS AND ASSOCIATES researched the attitudes toward and usage of media and music plus the personal interests of over 2,000 women who cume AC and Top 40 radio. The results are being unveiled in a series of free webinars presented by TRITON DIGITAL. To register for any or all of the webinars click here.
Exclusive Comment For All Access
ALAN BURNS AND ASSOCIATES CEO ALAN BURNS has added additional insight to this week's findings, exclusively for ALL ACCESS. BURNS notes:
I think when it comes to music streaming services versus radio, this data is the equivalent of turning on the night light, dragging the Boogie Man out from under the bed, and discovering he’s not so scary after all. The heavy users of PANDORA even tell us they’re listening to more radio lately.
But the popularity of PANDORA, etc., should make us more attentive to something listeners have been telling us for decades, which is that they’d like to be able to influence the music we play.
For the second year in a row we've asked women to score the music on their favorite radio station on a 1-10 scale and, if they use PANDORA, to rate the music they get on PANDORA on the same scale. Both years, PANDORA's music was rated exactly -- and only -- 5% better. That’s not a very big gap for something that's causing so much commotion.
So if the ability to customize the music you hear only results in only a 5% better music product, what’s the big deal? I think it’s this: the knowledge that you can control the music may be more important than the actual control. Consumers are all about control, customization, and convenience, and PANDORA, etc., give them two or more of those (not to mention fewer commercials and the ability to skip songs).
Last week's data showed, and this column emphasized, that knowing her opinions matter was the #1 differentiator of heavy versus light radio users, and a big reason for women to cooperate with ARBITRON was knowing her opinions matter. Given those two facts, plus the knowledge that consumers want to control -- or at least influence -- the music you play/they hear, you'd think more music radio stations would be communicating to their listeners ways to influence the station’s music.
I hear a couple of people saying 'yeah, well, we invite them into our database music panel but we don’t see that blowing up.' Fine. I did say that knowing you can influence might be more important that actually doing it, didn’t it?
Bottom line: ask the audience what they want you to do. Make it known that you're asking. If you don't like the answers you don't have to follow them -- but you’ve still made your station more appealling, just by asking.
Moving on... we see of all the women who've ever visited a radio station web site, almost half -- 44% of them -- have never visited the web site of their favorite radio station. When we ask why not, the two big answers are 'I just don't think of it' and 'there’s nothing I want or need there.' Those are really two ways to say the same thing: there just aren't enough good reasons to go to the web site.
For an element to drive site traffic it has to be not desired by the consumer but she also has to associate it with your site. Half or fewer of the women who have visited their P1 station's web site expect to find these highly desirable elements on it:
- a way to make requests
- local weather
- a way to influence what songs get played on the air
- the ability to buy concert tickets before everyone else.
OK, two of those highly desirable elements are about influencing the music. It keeps showing up. What are you going to do about it? Let me know your thoughts.