Monday, February 10, 2014

It's Not Personal

There's a battle of the vehicle and mobile brewing.

No wonder.  Edison Research president Larry Rosin in New York at IAB Digital Audio Agency Day last week:  “We don’t see a lot of evidence of people listening to less AM-FM radio.  It’s that they’re listening to more internet radio.”  He says the research continues to show more ways to listen to audio is driving up total consumption.  

Inside Radio
created the chart from Rosin's presentation.

Adding even more credibility, as Pollack Media's Pat Welch blogged, that the 89-90% number comes pretty close to Nielsen's (92%) estimate also just released.

The percentage jumping off the pages is 18-34's use of "personalized radio" and "on-demand music" twice as much. 

“The main advantage of AM-FM remains very much in the car.” Rosin points out that 81% of 18-34s listen to AM-FM while in cars and trucks, compared with just 30% who listen to web radio in that listening location.  In other locations, Millennials report listening to web radio while at home than those who turn on AM-FM (63% vs. 48%).  At work, 41% told Edison they listened to web radio in the past week compared to 31% who said broadcast radio.  “It all breaks down on the nature of the work.  If people are facing a computer screen all day, they’re very likely to be listening to internet radio.”  Digital listening also scored higher among young adults in locations like at the gym, walking around or on public transport. 

“In all of these other (non-car) locations internet radio is being used more,”
  according to Rosen.  Edison’s research found reasons include more choice, clearer signal, song ID, more convenient, stations outside their local area, and live event listening.  At the same time, 40% of those same folks told Edison that they’re actually listening to more AM-FM than a year earlier and another 40% said that they're listening about the same amount of time.  Just 20% of 18-34s claimed to be listening to AM-FM less at the same time 70% of them are using more web radio too.  “Audio is a booming category right now and young people are spending more time with more audio options than they have ever before.”

The findings are based on a 2013 online survey of 3,016 people age 12 funded by TuneIn, Spotify and Pandora.  A video of the entire day is posted on Kurt Hanson's RAIN website.

Jukeboxes are not new.  Top 40 radio was famously created when a smart programmer back in the 50's noticed that the majority of people were putting coins in the machine to hear the same songs over and over.

People have been willing to spend money to hear their favorite tune immediately for as long as live performers have been willing to play requests.

AM/FM radio has never been about personalization.  It was smart of the researchers to create new categories of "radio" for this study.  Our success - the "need" we can still fill better than anyone else - is building community with information, universals, relatables and entertainment value.  I don't see anything in this new info on uses of emerging technology to change that.

It would be a mistake for today's AM-FM radio to try to be something new technologies can do better, just as it has been to cut the resources that create the things nothing else can do as well.

The quality of the service - what our talent talk about and music we select - provides to them has more to do with how much time listeners give us than competing technologies.

Those are the best weapons to take to this inpending on-the-road battle.

We all had better take that very personally.


Duane Doobie, RadioInfo Music Editor/Director said...

Radio must be the place from which grassroots hipness rises! The quantum level, if you will, of popular culture! Otherwise, it does not have the tools to compete.

This is not a suggestion. This is a dire warning and I am giving you the parameters within which to keep your icons steady and stable. Just stay ahead of television.

Mark Kassof said...

We’ve heard all the doomsayers. “Listeners don’t care about radio,” “Millennials hate radio,” “Pandora will kill radio as we know it,” etc.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong! (click my name/link for proof)