Monday, July 08, 2013

Garbage In

Someone recently told me that streaming will surpass AM/FM listening in less than five years.

"Huh?"  "Where in the world did you hear that?" I asked and was told that they saw it online.

I guess that means 'if you saw it online, it must be true?'

So, I put the assertion in my trusty search engine and got back a number of results:
Naturally, it hit the social platforms too where it got reTweeted and forwarded:

Twitter / bevilwooding: Consumers Believe Streaming ...
Consumers Believe Streaming Will Surpass AM/FM Listening by 2018 says Stitcher Survey.

Just because it's titillating doesn't make something a fact.

Read the study. A&O&B's Mike O'Malley did so and noted:
  • The focus of the study is on "archivable media" - tv, movies, etc. 
  • Even music is presumably included as archivable. 
  • There's no info in the report on live radio talent (we're talking REAL talent) with relevant, entertaining and in the moment content.
  • The data points are from 18-34s, not 18+ as the survey says it is. seeing the 18+ would add perspective.  Could there be a reason they didn't include it?  Perhaps it didn't fit the narrative the PR company was hoping to push?
WYCT/Pensacola's "Captain" Chris Clare was also part of our conversation on the report as well and had an important perspective:
To me it's a blurring of the words "on demand". To say that you imply that the user has the ability to program what's next. In no music service medium, not even on an iPod do you control what's next. What's next is what comes up in the rotation. If you don't want to hear a song on your iPod, you skip to the next one. On a radio, Pandora, change stations until you hear a song you like. It's all the same thing.

The only true, on demand radio is the one you get to play and pick in real time. That doesn't exist for a consumer and if it did there aren't a lot of people who will take the time to set it up. It's why satellite radio didn't take off like they thought. Does it give you more choices? Yes. But it's still a lot of skipping around to hear what you want at that minute and it comes at a cost.

The advantage radio has is it's free to skip around on. No iTunes downloads or monthly fees. As long as the playing fields stay even (royalty payments) people will pick the free option most times because it's no different than other choices that make them pay especially since many of them have found you have to sell ads to make ends meet.

People will only pay so much for something that they can get for free.

So, to cap it all off:  the study wasn't even about whether FM goes away anytime soon (i.e., the next 15 years), let alone predicting it will for today's adults.

Caveat lector.

No comments: