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Bridge Ratings Industry Update - Internet Radio Perceptions

 

For Immediate Release

Wednesday April 18, 2007

As part of Bridge Ratings' on-going analysis of the Internet Radio sector, the company has released some never-before-seen data on the perceptions of Internet Radio audiences. The data published in this report is based on a sample of 3000 persons 12+ who have listened to some form of Internet Radio in the last 30 days or in the week prior to the study.

Confirming our most recent projections, this report shows no significant change in the number of persons (57 million) listening to Internet Radio.

Among those who indicated they had listened to Internet Radio during the preceding 7 days for at least 20 minutes, 25% said they had listened to an AM/FM simulcast on the Internet. 34% indicated they had listened to some form of Internet Radio in the previous 30 days. The terrestrial simulcast on the Internet is gaining momentum by quarter. Many consumers of terrestrial radio report that having access to their favorite terrestrial radio stations on the Internet provides convenience and a better quality experience.

 

Of those that listen to Internet Radio overall, the workplace is the primary location they listen with 52% responding. Of those who say terrestrial radio is a primary part of their daily on-line streaming experience, 60% listen at home.

 

 

Why Internet Simulcast is Critical to Terrestrial's Future

With the data collected in this updated study, terrestrial simulcast on the Internet is the fastest growing content channel for Internet Radio. This means that operators of terrestrial radio stations, in general, are doing a much better job of marketing and moving their audience to the Internet.

The downside to this increasing traffic for terrestrial is that its rating service Arbitron, does not count listening to terrestrial simulcast streams unless that stream is a 100% duplication of the over-the-air station. That means all music - and all commercials. And because of on-going negotiations AFTRA regarding compensation for airing terrestrial commercials on the Internet, most terrestrial stations don't air those commercials on-line, making their simulcast unqualified for Arbitron credit. This issue needs to be addressed sooner than later as it is now clear that the trend of increased on-line listening to AM/FM streams means these stations can recapture potentially lost listening.

Why Internet Simulcast is Critical to Satellite Radio's Future

While only 3% of our sample indicated to us that they also subscribed to one of the two satellite radio services, 19% of them also listen to the on-line stream of their satellite radio company. A small number of these satellite radio listeners were first exposed to the satellite radio product through either a free trial experience or through a shared listening experience with an acquaintance who was a subscriber.

Regardless of whether the merger of XM and Sirius comes to fruition, free on-line streaming trials are no-doubt critical to the growth and longevity of these services.

 

Audience Composition

The entire sample can be viewed based on how many hours a week they spend listening to Internet Radio. We break out the entire sample into 5 groups or Quintiles each Quintile is associated with the number of hours per week listened.

Quintile V (heaviest listening) - 20+ hours per week
Quintile IV (next heaviest) - 15-19 hours per week
Quintile III (moderate) - 10-14 hours per week
Quintile II (light listening) - 6-9 hours per week
Quintile I (lightest listening) - less than 6 hours per week

26% of the entire sample comprises the heaviest listening (Quintiles IV & V). Understandably, the heaviest listeners have the greatest passion for their Internet radio experience. These are the most active Internet radio listeners who tend to be a significant element in the viral nature of awareness for many Internet Radio channels.

74% of the entire sample falls in the remaining three Quintiles which represent moderate to light listening. This group tends to be more passive in their passion for their Internet radio channels and generally find the Internet radio experience to be more like a utility, i.e. it is something they can easily consume for background enjoyment and do not tend to seek out many Internet Radio destinations; they find 3-5 channels they tend to listen to habitually.

The predominant percentage of Internet Radio listeners fall into Quintile III where 38% of the sample spend between 10-14 hours a week listening. On average this amounts to approximately an hour and 43 minutes a day. Compared to terrestrial radio whose moderate listeners tend to spend approximately an hour a day, Internet Radio listeners consume Internet Radio 72% more than their terrestrial radio peers.

 

The new semi-annual study from Bridge Ratings & Research indicates the number of monthly Internet radio* listeners nationwide has jumped 10% since January 2007.

Last year's study revealed that 16% of those on-line had listened to an AM/FM simulcast on the Internet. This study, completed in January 2007 with a sample of 3000 persons 12+, showed 25% having had listened to an AM/FM simulcast in the last 30 days.

Internet Radio Passion Levels

How important is Internet Radio to its listeners. It depends on whom you ask. Referencing our quintile break-out again, the question was asked: "How important is it to you to be able to listen to Internet Radio on a weekly basis?" The results may surprise you:

While it is perhaps understandable that the heaviest users carry the most 'need' for listening to Internet Radio, the 74% of the Internet Radio audience that can be considered moderate to light users have marginal to poor passion for it. In other words, the majority of Internet Radio's audience at this time can take it or leave it!

These numbers have a strong bearing on the final outcome of whether copyright royalty rate increases are sustained since most webcasters believe the rate increases could destroy the industry.

Internet Radio Branding

With thousands of Internet Radio stations available on the Internet, how well do consumers remember what they listen to?

We asked the sample to tell us if they could recall the name of their favorite Internet Radio Channel, the one they listen to most. 77% were able to.

When asked about identifying their second most-listened to Internet Radio channel 55% were able to.

Only 38% of the Internet Radio listeners in our sample were able to identify their third favorite.

However, of those in our sample who listen to the webcast simulcast of a terrestrial radio station regardless of where that station ranked on their favorites list, on average 69% were able to recall the station! Further evidence of the value of terrestrial radio in an on-line world.

Internet radio facts:

  • Internet radio listening overall is primarily a work-hour phenomenon, with 65% of all on-line listening occurring between 5 a.m. Pacific and 5 p.m. Pacific. This is down from 81% in 2005. Increased at-home listening grew to 30% 5 a.m to 5 p.m. and 80% 7 p.m - midnight Monday through Friday.
  • 17% of the week's listening took place over the weekend.
  • 35% of Internet radio listeners were between the ages of 25 and 34. 60% were younger than 35, 33% were younger than 25, and 5% were older than 55.
  • In 2005 75% of listeners were men; 25% were women. By the end of 2006 60% were men.

 

 

 

 

 

*Sample = 3000 consumers 12+
Methodology: Random digit dial telephone interviews, one person per household.

Sample error = +/- 1.5%

Markets including in this study: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Chicago, Boston, Washington, DC, Miami, Dallas, Atlanta.

Bridge Ratings is a ratings and research company based in Glendale, California. We are dedicated to providing on-going, immediate, reliable, useable and affordable audience measurement services for the radio industry. Our methodology is based on sound consumer research principles. We are in the business of tracking listeners - not listening. Because we are a true research company we offer flexibility

 


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