How Universal Is In-Car Radio Listening?
November 4, 2013
In our recent columns, we have been discussing the impact of smartphones, and the digital lifestyle in general, on our audiences.Â All our data is drawn from NuVoodoo’s most recent national study of Radio listeners 18-54.Â We have found, in general, that listeners are increasingly living on their phones and social media. And that smartphones and social media are much more effective at reaching them with our advertising and promotion than old media (like TV spots).Â And that folks who are listening to terrestrial stations in 2013 are becoming aware of alternatives, but are not, on the whole, disenchanted with Radio.
Against that background, let us take a look at in-car Radio listening.Â Something we used to take for granted as an automatic. Captive audience.Â No viable alternatives. The radio goes on with the ignition.Â So is this changing?Â Given the convenience of hands-free phone calls? Given the plethora of new ways to listen to music?Â Given our concerns about all-digital trendy Millenials?Â Let’s take a close look.Â We asked respondents, on a 1-7 scale, how much of their in-car time is also Radio listening time.Â Here’s what they said, broken out demographically:
Three key take-aways from this chart:
- Despite the ease of talking on the phone, despite the easy availability and allure of alternative digital streaming and their personal music stashes, a huge majority of the audience still listens to the radio most of their driving time.Three out of four respondents say so, 5 or higher on the scale.Â And 54% of the audience is at a 6 or a 7: all or nearly all the time. Meanwhile, fewer than one in seven says they listen to Radio less than half the time (1-3 on the scale).
- Respondents who are potential PPM-carriers listen even more.Â As we have previously shown and discussed, PPM prospects tend to be higher on radio than non-prospects.Â In-car listening is yet another example of this syndrome.Â Almost 60% of PPM prospects say they listen to radio all or nearly all the time that they are driving.
- While it is true that older listeners are more likely than younger ones to be listening while driving, the demographic skew is not dramatic.Â Younger men are the only demo whose “6-7” scores are less than 50%.Â But even so, the spread between Men 18-34 and 35-54 is only 43% vs. 56%.Â And among Women, the spread between the 18-34’s and the 35-54’s is only 50% vs. 59%.
What this means to you
We are not concerned with, and have never focused on, folks who are no longer regular Radio listeners.Â We are concerned with nurturing and growing the listenership of pre-existing listeners.Â Those who still use radio at least 15 minutes a day.Â And that audience is still very much ours.Â They like us.Â They listen to us.Â They are, so far, showing no signs of flight.Â They are ours to protect or lose.Â
The best defense here is a good offense.Â The more we can promote and position Radio as a sexy and desirable set of digital options, the more we will pre-empt insurgents. Meanwhile, if we do not successfully pull off that perceptual transformation, we will leave a vacuum in the desirable-digital space.Â And then, just as they are converting everything else to digital, listeners will flee us for something new and sexy.Â So:Â are you positioning your stations as digitally-new-and-sexy enough?