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2007 Competitive Media Usage Overview Update


For immediate release: May 23,, 2007

2006 was a 'tipping point' of sorts for several media competing for listeners' time and use. This report is an update to our report first published on January 3, 2007.

Internet radio use continues its rise and terrestrial radio streams are recording significant unique user counts as the industry as a whole better understands the important role Internet streaming plays in audience building, loyalty and monetization of their terrestrial audiences.

Since the January publication of this analysis, Satellite radio announced its intention to merge its sole companies into one. While the jury is still out on this development, Bridge Ratings is tracking continued slow consumer interest in the medium. Satellite radio now penetrates nearly 5% of the market.

The iPod and MP3 players continue to experience unprecedented growth with a little more than 90 million units now in the hands of Americans. The number of households with more than one MP3 player also continues to rise as our study indicates that 15% of households have more than one MP3 player as users replace older models, have multiple family members who own one or are purchasing units to coincide with variations in lifestyle.

During the month of December 2006, Bridge Ratings interviewed 3500 persons 12+ on a national basis to determine use among the following audio media competing for time: Terrestrial radio, Satellite Radio, Internet Radio, MP3 Players and HD Radio. We interviewed an additional 3000 persons 13+ between April 13 and May 20, 2007 for an updated view.

Market Penetration

Among Americans using these technologies, terrestrial radio continues to dominate overall market penetration for the number of people listening for five minutes or more in a typical week despite the number of options available. 93.5% of Americans still listen in an average week, while MP3 players (including iPods) reached 30% of the population.

57 million Americans listen to some form of Internet Radio in a typical week according to our interviews. Satellite radio's nearly 15 million subscribers accounts for nearly 5% of the U.S. population and HD radio reaches 450,000 weekly users.


Terrerestrial radio actually performed better this period than in the December study with nearly 94% of those interviewed indicating they listened to an AM or FM radio station in the previous week for at least 5 minutes.

In just the few months since December, the continuing advancement of MP3 players, Internet radio and satellite radio are put into perspective.

HD radio, while showing improvement, penetrates less than 1% of the U.S. population. Bridge Ratings is projecting that HD radio may have 450,000 national listeners.

Time Spent Listening

While market penetration for all but terrestrial radio and cell phones falls under 40% of the U.S. population, the number of hours users of each medium spend listening represents a more interesting story.

Members of the satellite radio nation though representing 4.8% of the population continue to be the most loyal listeners spending the most time with this technology in a typical week (21+ hours). Overall, our sample of 13+ persons spends more time with Internet radio than they do listening to their MP3 players, but this statistic reverses itself when looking at the 13-24 year old age group which spends over 21 hours a week listening to their MP3 players - more than any other medium on this list.

And though HD radio represents a very small portion of the market, those that do own these radios spend considerable time listening during most weeks (12.5 hours). What's preventing them from listening more? "Poor broadcast content" is the number one most mentioned reason, referring to the lack of programming options that appeal to these users of HD radio. Traditional radio devoted significant dollars to marketing and building their HD offerings during 2006, but clearly the potential audience does not find most of the programming options to be worthy of high time-spent-listening.


Intent to Listen

Our "Intent to Listen" analysis received the most attention with the release of the 2006 study. Once again, we asked our sample of 3000 persons 13+ if they expect to be listening to these media More, The Same or Less in one year.

In the area of "Intent to Listen More", here are the comparisons by medium with our last study on this subject:

Intent to Listen More... 2007 2006
HD Radio 40% 47%
Internet Radio 42% 38%
MP3 Players 38% 34%
Satellite Radio 37% 39%
Terrestrial Radio 17% 15%

Owners of HD radios showed the largest decrease in this category. Internet Radio saw the greatest increase in "Intent to Listen".

Though MP3 players fall in fourth position among these five media for increased time spent listening, the medium jumps to first among listeners ages 13-24 years of age with 45% indicating they expect to listen more to their MP3 players. 45% of the young group expects to be listening less to terrestrial radio.

Shared Listening

Understanding that it is likely most consumers of terrestrial radio use more than one device during the course of typical day, the study also probed the sample by asking "Of the following, which do you use on a daily basis?" (AM/FM radio, HD Radio, Cell Phone, Satellite Radio, Internet Radio (all forms)).

The sample breakout showing daily device use looks like this:

Cell phones still consume the most time for listeners to traditional radio - 89% say they use one every day. MP3 players ranked second with 44%.

With all the devices at their disposal, which is their primary mobile medium, the one they use the most each day?

Their AM or FM radio stations are the primary daily device of 39% of the sample. Cell phones placed second with 22% of the sample.

Sample information

Sample size: 3000 persons 13+, Error +/- 1.8%

Study was conducted on a national geographic footprint with the following regional sample proportions:
Northeast: 19%, Midwest: 23%, South: 35%, West: 23%

For additional information or advisement, contact Dave Van Dyke at 818.291.6420.