Alan Burns: Women Want Their Phones To Include A Radio
Burns Details His Findings Exclusively For All Access
July 16, 2010 at 4:29 AM (PT)
Data released by ALAN BURNS AND ASSOCIATES shows that almost half of all women and nearly three-quarters of early adopters would buy a different cell phone if it contained a radio receiver.
"This is great news for the radio industry," said CEO ALAN BURNS, "because now we have hard data to show cell phone manufacturers that putting radio receivers in their products would benefit them financially. It’s a huge opportunity, because over half of the 2,000 women we interviewed said they’d listen to more radio if they could listen on their phone."
We as an industry ought to be putting a full-court press on cell phone makers to put radios in their phones. Itâ€™s a huge opportunity for radio and it can be a difference-maker for the manufacturers as well. Weâ€™ve got to get this done.
ALAN BURNS AND ASSOCIATES conducted what is believed to be the largest study of female radio listeners in history, and is releasing the results in a series of webinars presented by DMR.
"Another conclusion from our study," added BURNS, "is that content improvements can help address all of radio’s biggest consumer challenges. It improves the price/value relationship with regard to commercials, it improves relevance, it creates incentive to stay with or come back to radio vs. new media, and it can generate higher interest and loyalty among the very vulnerable young end." The majority of 15-24 year-olds agreed with the statement that, "One I won’t need to listen to radio for music because I can get it online, on my iPod, or on my cell phone."
Next in the series of webinars is a "Deep Dive into CHR" next THURSDAY, JULY 22nd, at 2p (ET). To register, click here.
Exclusive Commentary From Alan Burns
ALL ACCESS asked ALAN BURNS to comment on each of the major points of his study. Here are the highlights of his findings, and his exclusive thoughts:
1. Perceived listening is flat. 25% are listening more lately, and 28% less. Most of those who are listening less say there’s no radio station that sounds like it really understands them.
BURNS: Radio stations spend almost all their audience-facing efforts on getting the audience to understand the station. We need to spend more time getting the station to understand the audience!
2. Over half of 15-24 year-old women say that one day they won’t need to listen to music on the radio (they can get it online, on digital devices, cell phones, etc).
BURNS: Radio’s young end is very vulnerable. 15-24s can easily imagine a day when they won’t need radio to listen to music. (2). That day doesn’t have to ever come around...whether it will or not depends primarily on whether radio chooses to serve the young end better before it goes away.
3. Radio’s strengths boil down to the "Big C’s"
* Convenience (free, easy to use, and portable).
* Companionship (air personalities and music that matches the mood)
* Community (connecting to other people; what’s popular? What are other people saying and doing?
BURNS: One of the things that struck me while going through this data is the importance of radio’s community function -- and by that I don’t mean reading PSAs. While people usually listen when they’re alone, that listening connects them to lots of people: the personalities on the station, the callers to the station, the listeners who share the station’s values, and all the people who like the songs the station plays. Personalities are important, finding out what’s going on in the relevant circle of people, hearing what other people are saying and doing, and finding out what’s popular, are all elements of that community function. And the stations that serve that best will have a huge advantage....not only versus other radio stations, but over iPods and music streams as well. You may be able to find your favorite song on your iPod, but you can’t hook into your community on one.
4. Both the heaviest users of radio and women who are listening less lately say radio would be more enjoyable if:
* Fewer commercials 68%
* Fewer obnoxious commercials 60%
* More information about the songs/artists 37%
* More new music 37%
* Less music they’re tired of 36%
BURNS: Listeners still complain about commercials and always will. But under the principle of "the customer is always right," we need to pay attention to that. And we can certainly make our commercials better -- see what’s going on in PHILADELPHIA regarding that effort. Moving on... how many times does the audience have to tell us they want more song and artist information before we finally give it to them? Our national content analysis of Top 40 and AC last year showed virtually no such information on the air.
5. Radio needs to change the listeners’ perceived cost/benefit ratio by lowering spotloads, improving commercials, and/or improving content.
6. The #2 item heavy radio users like about the medium is entertaining people
7. The #3 reason people give for listening less is useless DJ chatter.
BURNS: The importance of finding, developing, and guiding talent has never been more clear.
8. Half of all women in the study like air personalities and think they enhance listening. The other half either actively dislikes air personalities or can take or leave them.
BURNS: When our air personalities crack the mic, half of the audience is prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt. For the other half, you’d better say something entertaining or useful, and do it quickly. We’re seeing that lesson in PPM.
9. 24% of women say "a clearer digital signal" would make radio more enjoyable.
10. While iPOD or other digital music device usage leans young, over half of 35-54 year old women report spending an hour or more listening to music on them weekly.
11. Time spent listening to non-radio music streamed on the internet will grow significantly. Far more of the bellweather Early Adopters are streaming (73%) than are women in general (51.5%). Usage of online music streams by typical female radio listeners should grow to around 76% within one to two years.
BURNS: The coming increases in listening to music streamed on the internet will make that personality/communal aspect of radio even more important than ever.
12. Heavy radio listeners tend to also be heavy consumers of digital/new media...and vice versa.
13. Lack of portability is the #1 limitation on streaming usage for younger listeners.
BURNS: Watch out for Wi-Fi! If the in-car bandwidth issues can be resolved, Wi-Fi will be a serious challenge to traditional radio. We have a window of time to make our products, our industry, great enough to retain our share of in-car listening.
14. Twice as many women have downloaded music in the past month as have purchased CDs in the month. Only among 45 to 54 year-olds is purchase of one or more CDs as high or higher than downloading one or more songs.
15. Radio dominates as the most-cited source for new music information and discovery by a wide margin. Among women who buy music radio leads 3 to 1.
16. 76% of these women have a FACEBOOK profile, while 21% have a TWITTER account. This compares to 26% who have visited a radio station web site in the past week, 22% who are members of a station listener club, and 8% who are active members of a radio station points or rewards program.
BURNS: If you aren’t seriously attending your station’s FACEBOOK page as a major communication channel with your audience, you’re missing the boat. More of your female listeners check their FACEBOOK profiles multiple times in one day than visit your website in one week.
17. 23% say the radio station sites they’ve visited are more entertaining or useful than other web sites; 16% say less (61% say "about the same").
18. 33% of the sample were cell-phone-onlies (have a cell phone but no landline at home).
19. 54% of women say they would listen to radio more if they could listen on their cell phone.
BURNS: We as an industry ought to be putting a full-court press on cell phone makers to put radios in their phones. It’s a huge opportunity for radio and it can be a difference-maker for the manufacturers as well. We’ve got to get this done.
20. Nearly half of all women (47%) and almost three-quarters of the Early Adopters (73%) would be more likely to buy a specific cell phone because that included a radio receiver.