In the 21 months that I have had the pleasure of writing this blog, two themes have regularly raised their heads: the Internet and mobile devices. Evolution onto these two platforms is a vital aspect of radio’s future, especially mobile devices.
Why? Because smartphones, PDAs, and other portable devices are giving the Internet the ubiquity that radio has long enjoyed. Now the Internet goes with you on your day to day rounds, and radio increasingly is doing the same. While it does not yet have to omnipresence of broadcast, the Internet and the radio streams conveyed by it are becoming more accessible by the day. Wi-Fi hotspots are popping up everywhere, President Obama has a national broadband plan being developed, and each generation of new devices has more power and more connectivity than a tricorder in a old episode of Star Trek.
While doing some research this morning to see what I should write about, I found some interesting numbers provided by Claire Cain Miller of The New York Times’ “bits” blog. Granted, she is looking primarily at Pandora, which has no terrestrial component, but this still gives a solid picture of the overall trend towards mobile:
Of the 65,000 people who register for a Pandora account each day, 45,000 do so on mobile phones, said Tim Westergren, Pandora’s founder. Three-quarters of the new mobile listeners are new to Pandora, as opposed to long-time Web listeners downloading the mobile app. “I’m beginning to think that our future is going to be more mobile-centric than I had even thought, and sooner,” he said.
That’s just shy of 70% for those of you counting, almost three quarters of new registrations coming in from mobile devices. I think those number stand on their own. If anyone in the radio industry still doubts the power of mobile or the growing reach of the Internet, they should take a look at this.
Now, here is the really interesting part. Pandora’s mobile listeners display behavior that is counter-intuitive to most people: they click on ads about twice as often as their fellow users who acces the site through a standard web browser. Who would have thought it?
Image: Screenshot of Pandora on my iPhone