Arbitron Study: Radio & New Media -- A Good Fit
April 19, 2007 at 10:47 AM (PT)
ARBITRON, EDISON MEDIA RESEARCH and JACOBS MEDIA presented a pair of studies analyzing radio's place in the new media world. The seminar, held at the GRAND HYATT in NEW YORK CITY this morning (4/19) and sponsored by RONNING LIPSET RADIO, featured presentations by ARBITRON's BILL ROSE, EDISON MEDIA RESEARCH's JOE LENSKI, JACOBS MEDIA's FRED JACOBS and H.I./HUMAN INSIGHTs STACEY LYNN SCHULMAN.
The study, based on 1,855 callbacks to ARBITRON diarykeepers in JANUARY of this year, revealed that online radio usage had increased from 6% in 1998 to 40% in 2007, with 20% of respondents (approximately 49 million people) listening online within the last month, and 11% (approximately 29 million) within the last week. Online listeners are 55% male, 45% female, and -- debunking the myth that online listening is primarily the province of the young -- 62% of online listeners fall into the 25-54 demo.
Debunking the myth that online listening is primarily the province of the young -- 62% of online listeners fall into the 25-54 demo.
The study also showed that satellite-radio awareness and usage seemed to be leveling off. Over the last four years, the percentage of the population that was "aware" of SIRIUS has trended from 28%-54% (coinciding with HOWARD STERN's announcement) to 61%-60%, while awareness of XM has trended from 41%-50% to 61%-64%. When asked how likely they were to subscribe, 3% of respondents said "very likely" and 15% said "somewhat likely," while 82% said "not likely." The present satellite radio audience features a 50/50 male/female split, with 60% falling into the 25-54 demo. For the Fall 2006 book, satellite radio pulled a 3.4 AQH share nationally, with 5.6% of diaries mentioning satellite radio. That translates into approximately 14 million listeners -- a number that's in line with the combined number of subscribers reported by SIRIUS and XM.
An interesting observation: Satellite radio listeners spend more hours listening to the radio each week -- 30 hours compared to 20 hours for the average listener -- and also spend more hours listening to traditional AM and FM radio than the average listener. Essentially, satellite-radio subscribers are very big radio fans and patronize all kinds of radio.
While awareness of HD Radio has risen over the past year (14% in 2006 to 26% in 2007), broadcasters still have a lot of work to do in generating consumer interest. Only 6% of respondents said that they were "very interested" in HD Radio, 23% responded "somewhat interested," 24% said "not very interested," and 44% said "not at all interested." Three percent responded "don't know."
Digital Audio Player
The percentage of survey respondents who own iPODS has grown from 4% to 13% since 2005. Ownership of other brands of MP3 players has also grown from 8% to 12%. Similar to other new platforms, digital-player owners are split 50/50 male/female, and 60% of them are in the 25-54 demo, again demonstrating that this is not just a "youth" thing. Fewer than one in 10 digital-player owners (9%) say that they are listening less to traditional radio, although the TSL loss is heavier among young digital-player owners -- 18% in the 12-24 demo.
Awareness of this technology has risen from 22% to 37% in the last year, with 13% of survey respondents saying that they'd listened to a podcast, up from 11% last year, showing that the growth in actual listening hasn't grown as fast as the "buzz" on this new technology. The most popular podcast topics: Technology and Community topics (28%), National News (27%), Local News (26%), Local Music (24%) and National Sports (22%).
When asked if they'd be listening to the same amount of AM and FM radio in the future as they do now, 79% of 12+ survey respondents said "yes," while 77% of online radio listeners, 70% of satellite radio listeners and 79% of podcast listeners also answered affirmatively.
Some 74% of respondents own cell phones, and 13% of cell-phone owners said that they are "very interested" in receiving radio on their phones, while 18% said that they are "somewhat interested." When asked which devices/technologies had had the most impact on their lives, cell phones led the way (44%), followed by iPODS (25%), satellite radio (22%) AM/FM radio (19%), MP3 players (15%), HD Radio (9%), online radio (8%) and audio podcasts (6%).
Radio & New Tech: A Natural Fit
FRED JACOBS shared a study dubbed "The Bedroom Project," a focus group approach designed to put faces to the statistics listed above. A key theme: Traditional radio fits well with the new media world. There is a strong link between radio listening and streaming -- they're essentially the same thing, just on different platforms.
SCHULMAN concurred, pointing out that radio is "personally engaging, naturally. Fragmentation is at radio's core, radio is by nature self-selecting and personalized, and is a 'Hot' medium [an old MCLUHEN term] due to the 'clarity' of the audio experience."
Visit the ARBITRON website for more details and links pertaining to these studies.