Jacobs Media Unveils TechSurvey 11 At Worldwide Radio Summit 2015
April 23, 2015 at 3:28 PM (PT)
At the WORLDWIDE RADIO SUMMIT in HOLLYWOOD TODAY (4/23), JACOBS MEDIA's FRED JACOBS unveiled results from TECHSURVEY 11, surveying 41,634 listeners of 220 stations in NORTH AMERICA about their listening habits.
Starting as he does in each survey with the "media usage pyramid," JACOBS split the pyramids into two versions, media usage and brand/platform. For media usage, TV barely beat out radio (93% to 92%) for most heavily used medium, with texting right behind at 88%, social networks at 85%, and smartphone ownership up to 81%. Streaming video is up to 62%, and connecting audio sources to car audio systems tied tablets at 62%. Streaming audio is at 57%, but podcasts are at 21%, tied with satellite radio. Last is the smartwatch, at 2%, but the APPLE Watch is expected to change that in future surveys.
The brand platform pyramid showed broadcast radio first at 92%, with FACEBOOK (71%) and YOUTUBE (53%) next, and NETFLIX making big moves as well. JACOBS showed some of the individual format information, with PINTREST doing well with Country listeners and Twitter performing much stronger with Sports listeners. Comparing millennials to baby boomers, the former are more interested in social media and video and boomers more likely to use satellite radio and LINKEDIN.
A chart of "Net promoters" -- people likely to recommend stations in social media -- showed Contemporary Christian listeners well in front, over 70% likely to recommend, with Country second and Sports last. JACOBS noted that use of various platforms does not make recommenders less likely to recommend their favorite radio stations.
Why do people listen to AM/FM radio? The survey said that "to hear my favorite songs" tops the list at 67% ("play the hits"), with DJs, hosts, and shows second (55%); critically, the next seven entries and eight of the next nine are emotion-based (as in "I like to work with the radio" and "keeps me company"). For News-Talk, "what's going on locally" is a strong second, and a deeper dive into localism showed that 81% agreed or agreed strongly that one of radio's primary advantages is its local feel, and the acceptance cut across all demographics.
This year, user's phones using a ring tone were the top choice for waking up, with clock radios using a local station second, "some other way" third, and a clock radio using a buzzer fourth; clock radio users "lean old," JACOBS said, adding that he expects the dominance of the phone to increase in future surveys.
FACEBOOK topped the social media charts at 94%, with the separate mobile FACEBOOK Messenger second at 65%; LINKEDIN, GOOGLE+, TWITTER, PINTREST, INSTAGRAM, MYSPACE, SNAPCHAT and TUMBLR filling out the top 10. But asked which they use on a daily basis, respondents overwhelmingly chose FACEBOOK; possibly explaining MYSPACE's showing on the first chart, the early social site showed up at zero usage on a daily basis, indicating that people have old profiles but they don't check them anymore.
Cross-referencing social use with listening, respondets were asked if they listen more if they interact with stations on social media; 29% said yes, with women and young listeners most likely to react to acknowledgement on social media with more loyalty. "That touch is so critically important to our brands," JACOBS said. Sharing is increasing, with 36% (up from 34% last year and 17% the year before) likely to share on social media.
Streaming is becoming a "bigger, bigger deal" for Rhythmic, Alternative, Hot AC, Sports, Top 40, and Triple A leading the way. Station streams are most listened to, with PANDORA right behind and iHEARTRADIO a distant third. Looking further at PANDORA, weekly listening is coming from Top 40/Rhythmic, Hot AC, Alternative, Urban, AC and Top 40, with millennials more likely to use the customized streaming service. The top criticisms of PANDORA are limited skipping of songs and, interestingly, commercial annoyances, indicating, JACOBS said, that as PANDORA adds inventory, it is encountering the same resistance as does radio.
Addicted To Phones
Asked to agree or disagree with the statement "I am addicted to my mobile phone," 34% agreed or strongly agreed, with women and millennials more likely to agree. Asked if they prefer using a mobile phone to a computer, 24% agreed or strongly agreed.
The survey asked respondents for the first time about FM chips, data plans, and NEXTRADIO, finding that 39% have unlimited data plans but 51% have limited or prepaid data plans; 34% say that tracking data usage is "very important" and 31% say it is "somewhat important," but for those with capped usage, most are concerned with tracking data usage and are changing their behavior as they approach their data cap.
A quarter of the respondents had heard of the FM chip in cell phones and 26% said that they would use radio "a lot more" and 32% said "a little more." JACOBS called this a "real positive" development for radio. There was little recognition of NEXTRADIO, but most said they would be interested in it once apprised of the app's existence.
Riding With The Connected Car
As in other studies released this month, TECHSURVEY 11 found that millennials want to own cars to the same vast-majority extent as every other demographic, counter to the image of millennials not wanting to drive.
Looking at in-car listening, the strongest formats were Alternative, Top 40/Rhythmic and Top 40, but all formats showed well, and millennials once again showed that the lion's share of their listening was in the car. Millennials were also the most likely to know how to connect their phones to their car. As far as driving connected cars, reports that drivers don't like the in-car systems were countered by the survey's finding that 48% of connected car drivers said they love their systems and 28% like them.
For the first time, the survey asked people how often they change car presets or audio settings, and most said they rarely or never change the settings. Asked about the most important features for in-car entertainment systems, AM/FM radio is by far the top choice, with smartphone connection up to second place, CD player third, and Bluetooth fourth.
Changes In Discovering Music
The survey also asked questions about where people discover new music, and AM/FM radio was the choice of 56%, trailed by friends and relatives, FACEBOOK, YOUTUBE and TV. PANDORA was in sixth place. Asked which they'd pick if they could only choose one, AM/FM also led with 40%, but for both categories of music discovery, AM/FM's numbers were actually substantially down from previous surveys, and millennials are gravitating to PANDORA and YOUTUBE.
The study was conducted before the announcement of the APPLE Watch, so the interest in smart watches was low, with 51% not interested at all.
JACOBS noted that television played a substantial role in the results, saying that the change in television viewing behavior -- on-demand becoming more important -- might portend acceptance of podcasts. He also advised radio to "stop making social a hobby" and use it to connect to listeners.