Vision Critical Surveys The State Of In-Car Listening
September 27, 2010 at 4:25 AM (PT)
A new three-country online survey conducted by VISION CRITICAL outlines the beginning of important changes to in-car media usage, many of which have a potential impact on radio. The good news is broadcast radio remains by far the most common media used in the car, followed by CDs or cassettes. However, the survey of 4,020 online consumers in the UNITED STATES, BRITAIN and CANADA found that that change is on its way with the growing use of personal digital music in the car.
Several major auto companies are building and promoting new technologies to put online media entertainment inside the car. This prospect is generating interest among drivers in all three countries. More than half of respondents who spend a minimum of 15 minutes a day in their cars express interest in new technologies that would bring access to online music radio services or on-demand playlists of music, news talk, and entertainment into the car.
We should be careful to assume that increased use of in-car audio alternatives will displace listening to terrestrial or satellite radio.
Three-quarters of online AMERICANS (75%) and CANADIANS (74%) say they typically spend at least 15 minutes a day traveling in a vehicle. A smaller proportion of online BRITS (56%) are in their cars for at least 15 minutes in a typical day.
Among those online consumers who spend 15 or more minutes per day in their vehicles:
* Broadcast radio is the primary form of entertainment, with more than three-in-four adults in all three countries reporting they had listened in the week prior to being surveyed.
* Many still listen to CDs and cassettes in the car, especially in BRITAIN where nearly three-in-five (62%) report doing so in the past week.
* Across all three countries, one-in-four have listened to iPODS, mp3 players or smartphones through the vehicle’s stereo system in the past week.
* Fewer online AMERICANS (16%) and CANADIANS (15%) report having listened to satellite radio in the cars in the past week. (Satellite radio is not currently available in BRITAIN.)
* At this early stage, few respondents report streaming audio programs or podcasts on their smartphone through their vehicle’s stereo system -- although this figure is higher in the U.S. and BRITAIN than in CANADA.
* There is broad interest in new technologies that would allow access to online music and radio services in the car. This interest is particularly strong in the U.S. and BRITAIN.
Consistent with early adopter profiles, men and younger drivers (age 18-34) are at the forefront of interest in these new forms of in-car entertainment, but women and 35-54 year-olds are not far behind.
Vision Critical Forcasts
* Online music streaming services such as PANDORA and SPOTIFY appear to be driving interest in online in-car audio. Interest in online in-car audio is highest in the U.S. (where people have access to PANDORA) and BRITAIN (where SPOTIFY is available).
* Younger, male-skewing radio formats are likely to feel the first blast of any impact. Men and younger respondents show the greatest interest in hooking up in-car audio alternatives.
* We should be careful to assume that increased use of in-car audio alternatives will displace listening to terrestrial or satellite radio. Even considering the prospect of online audio services in the car, these new alternatives may simply replace the use of other forms of music such as CDs -- much like CDs replaced cassettes and 8-tracks.
* Online in-car access provides opportunities for radio stations that embrace interactive and mobile platforms. Given the options that are becoming available, listeners will be expecting more from their radio station than a linear broadcast.