Jacobs Media's Techsurvey 9 Debuts At WWRS
May 3, 2013 at 12:54 PM (PT)
FRED JACOBS brought the first public presentation of information from JACOBS MEDIA's TECHSURVEY 9 at the WORLDWIDE RADIO SUMMIT. The study of 264 radio stations with a sample of 78,111 respondents in JANUARY and FEBRUARY -- the largest-ever such study of radio -- brought back the "media usage pyramids" from prior surveys, showing cell phone usage up to 96%, with the Internet at 95% and TV down slightly at 90% and AM/FM Radio at 89%. Smartphone use has jumped, with 62% owning one (a 19% jump from last year), and tablet ownership leaped 51% to 36% ownership. TWITTER has jumped as well (to 27%) but podcasts have slipped (26%); while the "digital dash" is at 11% but showing sharp growth as the technology makes it into the marketplace.
Jacobs strongly recommended that station management take a test drive in a car with a "digital dash" and rethink their relationships with car dealers as a result.
The study took the unusual step of breaking out audience into generations, boomers and Generations X, Y (millenials), and Z (teens). Boomer media usage showed sharp increases for FACEBOOK, satellite radio, and the digital dash; millenials, more tech-savvy, showed more use for text, FACEBOOK, smartphones, Twitter, and tablets; and teens show smartphone ownership much lower, something JACOBS called the "mom won't let me" effect, and they are more likely to be radio listeners than TV viewers.
Among the takeaways JACOBS offered is that geography doesn't matter, with behaviors similar across regions (with the exception that streaming is lower in Canada because of royalty rates and data restrictions impacting streaming operations); FACEBOOK and, more clearly, TWITTER created stronger listener bonds with younger audiences; listeners use e-mail, websites, streaming, FACEBOOK and contests as ways to interact with radio stations (but events and request lines have fallen to near the bottom), with younger audiences connecting more; radio, he said, is making the transition to digital, and digital users are "still using radio a lot," consuming perhaps more radio than the average consumer.
The study asked listeners to say why they listen to radio, with "hearing favorite songs" once again in the lead and "like to work with radio" and "get in better mood" next, ahead of DJs and hosts. But among "unforced errors" causing people to stop listening are that the listener is "not enjoying programming" and "too many commercials." Also affecting radio listening are the plethora of new options, like smartphones and, especially for teens, iPOD and MP3 players, for consumers' attentions.
52% of respondents said that most or all of their listening to AM/FM radio is in cars. The same percentage -- 52% -- say that they connect their phone or MP3 player to the car. Looking at the digital dashboard, Country listeners lead in having a percentage of the audience with digital in-car systems, with News-Talk and Sports next. Countering the misperception that automakers want to eliminate AM/FM radio from cars, AM/FM is the leading new car feature respondents said they want. And FACEBOOK remains the "big dog" among social media sites, with LINKEDIN and TWITTER next and also growing. PINTEREST is showing major growth as well, as is SNAPCHAT, which is exploding among teens. The survey also offered details of how listeners connect with stations and what they expect from that interaction (61% don't expect a response, but many who do expect a response within a day), and how listeners use smartphones (texting in the lead, photos and videos growing fast, and use as alarm clocks also significant.
The leading radio app is PANDORA, with iHEARTRADIO next and individual station apps a strong third. TUNEIN, SPOTIFY and SLACKER are in the middle of the pack. Streaming "is becoming even a bigger deal than it was before," JACOBS said, with Alternative, Contemporary Christian, Sports, and Rock in front, but all formats showing strength. A significant jump in irritation with PANDORA commercials showed up in this year's survey as well. And FM radio remains well in front as a music discovery source, but Generations Y and Z show growth for YOUTUBE and PANDORA making inroads.
Finally, JACOBS strongly recommended that station management take a test drive in a car with a "digital dash" and rethink their relationships with car dealers as a result. He also suggested that, one day a week, management listen to the stations' streams and note quality and problems, and urged stations to "think mobile first" and develop apps that are "more than just streams."