Bridge Ratings: How Have Outside Influences Affected Radio's Health?
October 21, 2010 at 4:25 AM (PT)
BRIDGE RATINGS has released a new analysis named "Terrestrial Radio's Run Through the New Media Gauntlet." In it, the impact of government rulings and various new competitors is studied for its affect on the radio industry.
Writes BRIDGE, "Terrestrial radio was having a great run when in 1996 the U.S. Congress passed a bill that allowed consolidation among broadcast companies expanding ownership by any given company within a radio market. The buying and selling frenzy which followed this legislation had never been experienced before and the industry was excited about the prospect of how cost savings and sales strategies developed by virtue of these consolidations would improve the radio business and make it more competitive than ever.
Traditional radio is more resilient than the press would have many believe.
"However, no sooner than consolidators began to operate their large market clusters did radio find itself faced with new technologies that individually in the beginning didn't pose much perceived threat, but would become a competitive juggernaut when considered together.
"In the years since 1998, when NAPSTER first was introduced into the consumer consciousness, traditional radio has been met with severe new competitive considerations. In many ways, the volume of competition has been a compliment to an industry that had been experiencing double-digit revenue growth rates through the '90s."
BRIDGE put together a panel of 3,822 persons 12-21 years of age to be interviewed for this update on terrestrial radio's digital gauntlet. Each person on the panel met the following criteria: currently listened to terrestrial radio at least 30 minutes a week, used an MP3 player for at least 30 minutes per week, and listened to Internet radio for at least 30 minutes per week, used a cell phone and used social networks for at least 30 minutes per week.
What did BRIDGE conclude? They wrote, "This analysis of terrestrial radio's run through the technology gauntlet over the past 12 years reveals the specific moments in time when new media had its greatest impact on radio listening. A variety of problems plagued the radio industry during this term including an economic breakdown which began in 2000, worsened in the fall of 2001, created operational upheaval in 2009 and is showing signs of some stability in 2010.
"Listener apathy also has played its part as sharing of music files in the early part of the decade boosted the sexy new tech of MP3 players on the young end, while satellite radio's effective marketing blitz -- spearheaded by XM in 2002-03 -- painted that technology as the next generation of radio; adults have been more apt to adopt this technology. Satellite radio's strong two-year consumer love affair seemed to overshadowed traditional radio in those years as the radio industry searched for revenue solutions that weren't necessarily linked to improving programming content.
"Once terrestrial radio en masse became more proactive by improving programming and marketing around 2005, this analysis shows that for certain demographics, there was an improvement to loyalty.
"As this analysis attests, traditional radio is more resilient than the press would have many believe."
Find the full survey here.
[What do you think have been the biggest issues radio has had to deal with in the past 10 or 20 years? Please share your thoughts below.]