Posts Tagged ‘listenership’

Roundup: The Performance Rights Act

June 16, 2010

The Performance Rights Act (PRA) has been a frequent topic here on the Radio 2020 blog ever since its inception, and with good reason. The legislation as it stands could have massive negative repercussions for the radio industry at all levels. Among other things, the new royalty structure will almost certainly result in the labels revisiting their contracts with artists if it passes — not something many have considered. This is only one of many ramifications that will rear their ugly heads if the PRA gets passed.

Let’s take a quick trip in a time machine and revisit my prior postings on the subject. For the benefit of our readers, here is a nice array of data on the subject. These posts range from October 2009 to the present and are presented oldest to newest in this list.

The Performance Rights Act is a very serious issue and it could still go one way or the other, so please educate yourself on the subject. Make an informed decision and let your Representative know your views!

Image: D. Reichardt / CC 2.0


Made For Each Other: Radio and Smartphones

December 28, 2009

In the two years I’ve been authoring this blog, mobile has been a constant refrain. In that time, we have watched iPhones and Blackberrys saturate the population, bringing with them unprecedented connectivity and bandwidth. Close on their heels have been the apps that bring radio to these users, broadcast becoming as accessible as the now nearly ubiquitous 3G connections that cover the U.S.

I’m an iPhone user myself, and my radio listening has increased dramatically since the introduction of a few key apps, some station specific and some more generalized. The real point is that I can get radio anywhere my phone can get a signal, allowing me to tune in to the stations back home in New Orleans from my living room (or the bus, or the coffee shop, etc.) here in Cincinnati.

This game changing transition, the rise of the smartphone, is doing exactly what I’ve predicted all along — bringing radio to new listeners and evolving with the new technology rather than against it. As more and more radio concerns get apps into distribution, the numbers keep on increasing. Just look at the info as presented in this recent article in The Courier-Journal:

About a year after Clear Channel, the No. 1 radio company introduced its iHeartRadio app for iPhones, phone users account for 10 percent of its digital audience.“We expect to at least double that number” in 2010, he said. “That’s a modest goal.”

The company attracts about 28 million unique visitors a month, up 30 percent from last year.

David Goodman, CBS Interactive Music Group president, also is upbeat.

“In the last seven months, our streaming audience has doubled,” he said. “It’s a rocket ship in listenership.”

It’s always a pleasure to find one’s prognostications proven right, and it’s a joy to live in a time when the tech is advancing and evolving so quickly. The world five years from now will bear little resemblance to the one we know today, and looking at trends like these is what makes me confident of radio’s place in that future!

Image: George “Loki” Williams, screencapped for this article

The iPod Generation Tunes In!

September 25, 2009

headphonesMove over, TV, step aside newspapers, and look out, Internet — radio has you all beat!

Even more astounding is the fact that both Nielsen and Arbitron agree on that, at least according to studies release by both companies this week.  Arbitron released their study at the opening of this year’s National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show, starting the event off on a high note.

Radio Ink reports:

Arbitron released its annual Radio Today study at the NAB Radio Show today, and says the study confirmed that more than 90 percent of consumers 12 and older listen to the radio every week — greater penetration than TV, magazines, newspapers, or the Internet.

Now, for those who are somewhat skeptical of Arbitron findings (see the Personal People Meter (PPM) controversies), Nielsen has produced similar findings. Those findings show a huge and underestimated rate of listenership amongst the “iPod generation.”

Nielsen reports that 18- to 34-year-olds in the 51 markets monitored listen to the radio 21.5 hours each week. That’s in line with all people age 12 and older, the company said. It’s a lovely thing to report in their first set of findings since entering the radio metrics arena. The numbers are based on a survey performed last  March and April among 119,000 consumers representing a population of 14 million.

FMQB, a radio industry news website, brings us the industry response to the numbers presented:

“By measuring the listening habits of 98 percent of the population instead of the 65 percent that we have been getting, Nielsen has dispelled many of the harmful untruths that have plagued our medium among the ad buying community,” stated Cumulus Radio COO Lew Dickey. “Most notable is the notion that radio has lost its hipness and relevance among younger audiences. Nielsen’s data proves that this is clearly not the case and it will clearly lead to a stronger appreciation of radio over time.”

In an era when naysayers continue to denigrate the medium, radio once more proves that it not only retains relevance but also popularity. It just goes to prove what I’ve said from the start: the radio industry suffers a perception problem, not a viability problem.

So why should we consider these stats to be accurate, especially in light of the unexpected jump in percentages? Up until now, radio surveys have skipped over cell phone-only homes. This effectively removes the younger, more Internet and technology oriented consumers out of the calculations. In Nielsen’s survey, they make up 15% of the total sampling. A 15% that tunes in to radio even more than the 18 – 34 year old demographic at 23 hours per week.


Image: kplawver / CC BY-SA 2.0

UK: Radio Listenership Soars with New Tech

May 13, 2009

podcastRSSRadio is everywhere. But at no time in our history has it been as easy to access as these early years of the 21st Century. The ubiquity of traditional radio broadcast over the airwaves is now augmented by a dizzying array of options received through cell phone, PDA, laptop computer, and anywhere there is Internet penetration. In the United Kingdom (UK), they have been paying particular attention to this because it provides a bright sunbeam in the dark clouds of economic news. You see, radio listenership is up in the UK.

Way up. Try more than 90% of all UK adults, 45.8 million people, tuned in each week.

I’m doing the Riverdance.

Urmee Khan, Digital and Media Correspondent for the UK Telegraph, breaks down the numbers a bit:

A third of people listened via digital radio, the Internet or digital television, and the number using mobile phones rose 13 per cent, according to the quarterly figures from radio industry body Radio Joint Audience Research (Rajar).

BBC Radio 4 has recorded its highest weekly audience in six years with 9.98 million listening in the first quarter of this year.

Now that’s a testament to the power of reaching people the way they want to be reached. One of the important aspects of seeing our medium advance into the era of social media and sophisticated interactivity is adapting to our audience and connecting with them in the way they want. RadioCentre’s  chief executive, Andrew Harrison, made a point of giving credit to these new platforms for the increase in audience:

“Ten years ago, most people would listen to the radio in the car or in the home, now thanks to the benefits of the digital age we have all these new devices and people can listen to the radio on their mobile phones, MP3 players, PCs, the new raft of technology has really given a boost to radio reach.”

One of the reasons I got this gig is because I am excited about the future of radio. Radio was the original social media (call in shows, dedications on the air, etc.). Now we get to see it come of age. This is the leading wave, there is more to come. New media and mobile fused with HD, FM, and that bastion of talk radio that is the AM band will create a level of access to our programming like nothing ever seen before.

Yes, I’m a radio geek and news like this makes me tingle.

Photo courtesy of Colleen AF Venable, used under its Creative Commons license

Internet Radio Listenership Soars

April 10, 2009

listenAmerican Media Services has just released a study which gives us some heartening numbers. According to their poll (1,005 adults, conducted for AMS by Omnitel between March 27 and 29, accurate to within plus or minus 3 percentage points) it not only seems that listenership for Internet radio is increasing rapidly, it also indicates that 73% of internet radio listeners are tuning in the same amount if not more broadcast radio than they used to.

The story was covered by Eric Rhoads’ Radio Ink Magazine:

“Our latest survey shows the continued vibrancy of radio,” says AMS Chairman Edward Seeger. “Online radio is an increasingly important medium. Regular radio is holding its own. The two media offer choices that are compatible and complementary of each other.”

The age of smart phones and commonly available wi-fi is shrinking the digital divide, bringing Internet access to new users daily and doing so in ways that make it easier and easier to listen to radio. Just look at the array of radio applications already available for download on the iPhone, then factor in the debut of the app store for the Blackberry phone and whatever equivalent comes along from Google Android-based handsets.

With the tap of an icon a listener can bring up a huge variety of streaming radio stations. This is a game changer in an age where there are still many who are intimidated by computers.

Even with half the population of the U.S. now having wi-fi in the home, there is still a vast gulf between those who have access and those who do not. For those who do not, radio remains essential. For those who are on the Internet, the options for finding radio wherever they go are increasing rapidly.

Photo courtesy of vagawi, used under its Creative Commons license