Mobile Phone Radio Usage Experiences 140% Surge

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Ian Williams brings us some interesting numbers in a recent article on VNUNet.com:

The TNS Global Telecoms Insight study said that the use of MP3 players on mobile phones rose by 78 per cent last year, but that radio via mobile went up by 140 per cent.

Just a note: that 140 percent spike occurred over the past twelve months!

29 countries were surveyed and the highest rate of growth was found in the rapidly growing Latin American and Asian markets. The survey data was compiled from 16,000 respondents in those countries. According to the study FM/AM was noted as one of the top three choices for purchasing a new cell phone.

“Radio-enabled mobiles take away the need to have a separate music device like an MP3 player and should lead phone manufacturers to win the battle for control of the earphones,” said Matthew Froggatt, managing director of TNS’s Global Technology sector.

“The increased use of radio in the Asian markets is also extremely important. It is driving a whole new wave of customers to service providers and has huge implications for spreading media communications to a wider audience more quickly.”

Froggat also noted that in some markets, such as India, launching a new mobile phone without radio-listening capabilities is a major handicap to the device’s sales numbers.

With 43% of mobile phone users (73% of smartphone users) listening to some form of mobile music it looks like a whole new vista opening up for radio. Once again we see the evolution of the medium in action as it seamlessly integrates with new technology finding an audience where skeptics see none. Not bad for an industry that nay sayers declare is “dead.”

Radio Advertising Bureau President Jeff Haley said during his keynote speech at the RAB 2008 conference that he is on a mission put radio receivers “on every mobile phone, PDA and MP3 player within the next five years.” This news seems to indicate positive progress in that direction is happening naturally even before significant efforts are applied by the RAB.

“The radio is a hugely underrated media tool which has suffered at the hands of TV music channels and the internet. This new outlet through mobile phones may help to sustain its life well into this millennium,” added Froggatt.

Photo courtesy of airgap, used according to this Creative Commons license

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