Broadcast Streaming is at a Crossroads

Bridge Ratings has been conducting a study since January of this year to determine the interest in broadcast radio simulcast listening on the internet. You can read about these studies here and here.  Part of the study included reactions by a sample of 1500 persons to custom, personalized internet radio stations which would allow panel members to adjust various musical aspects of their favorite radio stations.

Initial results and follow-up data points to great interest by our sample of average radio listeners 12-49 years of age in broadcast radio offering customizable internet radio stations.

Studies done by other researchers support the idea that broadcast radio simulcast internet streams do not garner great usage. One estimate states that 7% of their sample listens to AM/FM content on a mobile device.

New additional data from the Bridge Ratings studies confirms this. But our study goes further.

Of the 3200 panel members in a new Bridge Ratings parallel study, 87% preferred mobile listening to desk-top listening of any streaming music. Only 9% indicated they have listened to AM/FM content in the last seven days.

Only 14% of the sample had a radio app on their mobile device.  Less than 65% of those with radio station apps on their mobile devices use them.

When asked if they would listen to customizable  content on an internet radio station app if it was offered by their favorite station and usage almost quadrupled to 34%.

And when the panel was asked if they would use a radio station app which offered additional personalized content, 41% indicated they would.

Based on this and other studies available, the writing is on the wall for broadcasters seeking a path to increased usage of their radio station apps.

Increase Usage

Current usage of broadcast radio internet simulcasts is less than 10% of the audience. Offering personalized internet radio stations would greatly multiple use and potential digital revenue.

In recent days we've seen increasing adoption to accept this Bridge Ratings data.

Q: But why aren't broadcasters taking this path?

A: Many programmers are not financially incentivized for the audiences generated by simulcast internet duplications of their AM/FM stations.

Many programmers are concerned that an internet radio station offering that can be personalized by its listeners may cannibalize listening from their AM/FM stations.

Click on image to enlarge.

Extend the Brand

Our studies show that if done properly this would not be the case.

Inevitably, the broadcast radio industry must finally learn from years of trial and error by companies like Spotify, iHeart and Pandora. They learned early on that customized experiences generate use and loyalty.

Broadcast radio can develop digital solutions that offer personal, geo-located experiences for their listeners. The technology is available, but it seems as though the will is missing.

From these studies we see a non-future for growing listenership of simulcast AM/FM content.

Isn't it obvious yet?

We do see a vast landscape of opportunity as described here.

Are there any takers?

Dave Van Dyke
Bridge Ratings LLC