Monday October 10 , 2005
Where Are My Listeners Going?
In November, 2004, Bridge Ratings & Research
released initial results from a multi-year-long Audience Attrition
project. The results in that report reflected audience erosion
from terrestrial radio due to generally less time spent with
AM/FM radio and more time spent with a variety of digital media,
including MP3 players (including iPods), Internet radio, satellite
radio and Compact Disc.
As part of Bridge Ratings’ on-going
studies of radio listening behavior, the company updated the
report in March 2005 by releasing the 2004 full-year trending
from its Audience Attrition project as well as initial findings
from January/February, 2005.
As part of the on-going review of audience attrition,
this week Bridge Ratings releases its updated report reflect
behavior through quarter 3 of 2005.
This study, which has been tracking such behavior
since January, 2004, once again reveals behaviors we have assumed
are taking place, but heretofore have not had clinical results
to confirm. While this project is intended to be a two year study,
initial results show:
1. Audience erosion to alternative audio entertainment
continues to occur through all demographics.
2. Erosion rate is still most evident in younger
demographics and is pronounced in the 12-24 year old age group
however the adoption and use of new technologies are becoming
commonplace among the 25+ age group.
3. On-going interest in alternative media has been
building through each of the months thus far studied and has,
in fact, accelerated through the third quarter of 2005.
4. Where male and female 12-17 year olds a year
ago were equally using digital playback devices (iPod, MP3),
Internet Radio and Compact Disc, time spent with these devices,
especially MP3 players has increased among males faster than
with females as 2005 progresses. Interestingly, satellite radio
is still not considered a "high interest" item among
this age group.
5. Audience erosion in traditional radio
is slowing in most demographics. For example, where
a 16% increase in alternative media use by Adults 35-64 was
reported in February 2005, in September 2005 use had risen
only 13%. Meanwhile, listening to traditional radio by this
age group continues to rise from 70 quarter hours a week (Q4
2004) to 75. (See chart 1)
Ratings measures CUME SHARE and FAVORITENESS rather than CUME
and Average Quarter Hours. AQH is a fabricated mathematical measurement
of cume x an average quarter hour number composed of 'best guesses'
by diary keepers. Thus, the AQH number tells a station
or its client nothing about the capability of the station to
FAVORITENESS is a better measurement
of loyalty especially when combined with the Cume number. The
cume number divided by the favoriteness number yields a conversion
number which more accurately measures station loyalty. In
Bridge Ratings studies, stations that convert their cume audience
to favoriteness at the rate of 40% or more are powerful instruments
in their communities. This is powerful information for both station
and advertisers alike.
For the “Erosion Studies”, as an add-on
to our usual questionnaire, Bridge Ratings selected 1000 persons
over six national markets to be interviewed on an every other
day basis regarding the listener’s use of AM/FM radio and,
where applicable, their use of digital media players, Internet
Radio, CD’s, or satellite radio. Questionnaires were structured
to seek overall daily use of the aforementioned media with short
The results represent the multi-market sample’s
behavior and reflects quarter hours of usage per week.
Traditional Radio Audience Erosion to New Media
Number of weekly quarter hours listened or
||Qtr 3 '04
||Qtr 4 '04
62 / 55
64 / 44
64 / 48
76 / 20
73 / 22
75 / 25
How to read: In the above chart,
during quarter 3 of 2004, 12-24 year olds surveyed were spending
62 quarter hours per week with traditional radio (AM/FM) and
55 quarter hours per week with alternative media. During quarter
4, 2004, traditional radio usage among this group dropped to
54 quarter hours per week while their use of alternative media
increased slightly to 64 quarter hours.
However, by September of 2005, use of traditional
radio by this group had stablized while their use of new media
continued to rise.
Between Q3 2004 and Q3 2005 , the 12-24 year olds
surveyed used traditional radio 15 percent less (62 QH in '04
to 53 QH in '05).
According to our sample, by September 2005 Adults
25-49 were spending 3% less time with traditional radio compared
to a year earlier and 23% more time with alternative media. These
figures also indicate that perhaps time spent changes with both
media is stablizing after a period of significant movement.
Where Does the Time Come From?
Looking at other media use among 25-49 year olds,
daily use of television actually increased over 2004, Internet
use was flat while listening to recorded music and reading books
and magazines has decreased.
Time Spent with Media Activities per day
|Demo Adults 25-49
||Qtr 4 '04
||Qtr 3 '05
|Books & Magazines
Time spent with non-media alternatives such as
household activities (housework, food preparation, garden care),
shopping, sports and socializing has also been affected.
While it is difficult to discern specific reasons
why, these latest findings suggest that traditional radio may
be effectively addressing listener concerns to the point where
declining use previously measured has not only slowed but a pattern
of stabilization may be occurring.
It is interesting to note that media multi-tasking,
the ability to conduct coincidental use with more than one entertainment
source, once only common among 12-24 year olds may be contributing
to these latest findings. With use of traditional radio stablizing
and in some cases even increasing while use of MP3 players and
the Internet increases, consumers appear to be working through
use patterns which allow them to enjoy all their media preferences.
A full year 2005 update will be released by Bridge
Ratings the first week of January 2006.
For additional information, contact Dave Van Dyke at 818.291.6420.
Markets measured: Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago,
Nashville, Boston, West Palm Beach
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 methodolgy
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