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2009 Competitive Media Usage Overview Update

 

For immediate release: December 7, 2009

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 2007 publication of this analysis:

1. Satellite radio's two companies merged into one.
2. Consumption of terrestrial Radio streaming and Internet-only radio has grown significantly.
3. Media consumption via Smartphones has skyrocketed.

4. Cell phone use for textings, internet browsing and media consumption has continued to rise.
5. Use of iPod and MP3 players continue to experience unprecedented growth

Between July 5 and August 30, 2009 , 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.

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 longer in a typical week despite the number of options available. 93.2% of Americans still listen in an average week, while MP3 players (including iPods) reached 40% of the population.

60 million Americans listen to some form of Internet Radio in a typical week according to our interviews. Satellite radio's nearly 19 million subscribers accounts for nearly 6% of the U.S. population and HD radio has made solid usage gains now reaching 650,000 weekly users.

New Media Impact on Terrestrial Listening

Bridge Ratings has been tracking consumer use of multiple media since 1998 and with the surge in shared listening between 2002 and 2005, terrestrial (AM/FM) radio has been trying to better understand its place.

Subscription radio (aka satellite radio) was perceived to be having an impact on AM/FM usage, but with a small percentage of American radio users actually subscribing, the expected severe attrition never occurred.

Internet use for music discovery and streaming had a greater impact, but it wasn't until Bridge Ratings sought a more complete picture of all audio consumption, did we get a clear picture of how AM/FM radio fits in with all of its competitive media.

The following chart traces terrestrial radio's path from 1998. It shows radio's 12+ weekly cume audience and it's "favoriteness" rating.

Combining the cume and favoriteness numbers provides an index of the relationship between consumers' weekly tune-in (5 minutes or more) and their preference for the radio medium (favoriteness).

In 1999 terrestrial radio was experiencing high cume (96.3% of the demo listening each week) and high favoriteness. As more alternatives (satellite radio, internet radio, MP3 players, etc) came along, terrestrial radio's preference and tune-in began to stagger.

By 2005 the cumulative impact of all this new media had severely impacted consumers' preferences and though the weekly cume audience for AM/FM radio maintained fairly steady numbers, the relationship between radio's weekly listeners and their loyalty sagged.

With a combination of consumer fatigue and the "oh wow" factor associated with much of the new media's newness, this relationship has improved.

The arrows in this chart point to significant moments of consumption change during the course of this study.

These trends are magnified when looking at younger demographics.

 

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 6.0% of the population continue to be the most loyal listeners spending the most time with this technology in a typical week (20+ 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 (11.5 hours) but this figure is down from previous studies. We estimate this is because of a larger number of HD radio consumers which diminishes the impact of extreme heavy users.

What's preventing them from listening more? Though improving slightly from previous studies, "Poor broadcast content" remains 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 since 2006, but clearly the potential audience does not find most of the programming options to be worthy of HD radio adoption or high time-spent-listening.

 

Intent to Listen

Our "Intent to Listen" analysis received the most attention with the release of the 2009 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... 2009 2007 2006
HD Radio 37% 40% 47%
Internet Radio 46% 42% 38%
MP3 Players 35% 38% 34%
Satellite Radio 33% 37% 39%
Terrestrial Radio 20% 17% 15%

Consumers of HD radio, MP3 Players and Satellite radio showed decreases in this category. Once again internet Radio saw the greatest increase in "Intent to Listen".

 


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 in addition to radio 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 still the primary daily device of 30% of the sample. Cell phones placed second with 28% of the sample.

This chart does reveal the overall attrition trend for terrestrial radio which experienced a 9% drop in primary preference. Cell phones (with the increasing penetration of smartphones) and Internet radio show significant growth.

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 888.790.1102.