Charlie Cook On Air: Changing Consumer Media

CCook-onair-sm11Last week two separate presentations explored why today’s media consumer is so different from just a few years ago. Arbitron, the radio audience measuring company, and Edison Media Research, one of the leading research and polling companies in America, co-presented a study they conducted in February of this year on Thursday. That same day, the Media Kitchen’s Digital Media Venture Capital Conference was taking place in New York City.

Both presentations declared consumers are carrying around many devices that give them instant access to whatever they want. In New York the concentration was more on video than audio but Arbitron/Edison dealt with video too and I’ll get to that because it zeros in on P1 radio listeners. As much as radio is under attack with other music sources, it still leads the way with usage as does television. However, Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget says TV is being squeezed in the multi-screen world. He says, “Second screen is the big opportunity as 80 percent of the young TV viewers (18-24) are using their smartphones and tablets while watching TV.” He is right on. The other night I was watching something I had Tivoed (I actually have a Tivo, not just a DVR), while I had the Tigers’ games shown on my laptop and I was also playing Texas Hold ‘Em on my tablet. Hey, I am up to $7M on the Poker site.  I just wish it was real money.

It has been estimated that 13 percent of all e-commerce is mobile, and 17 percent of all eBay is mobile. The Arbitron/Edison study reported 67 percent of all the respondents live in homes with Internet access and Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is important because it gives those in the household the ability to hook up multiple devices. In fact, almost a quarter of the homes have five or more devices connected to Wi-Fi. That allows for goofballs like me sucking up the entire Internet in my neighborhood each evening.

Because we care mostly about country music fans, it should noted country radio P1s (those who say they listen primarily to a specific country music station) scored under the national average here. Only 63 percent of the CRF (Country Radio Fans) have Internet/Wi-Fi and only 19 percent are connecting five or more devices. A third of all AM/FM listeners tuned into online radio last week, but that number is only slightly over a quarter of the CRF. The numbers for Pandora, iHeartRadio, Spotify and podcasting are all lower for CRF than for the general public.

I mentioned earlier video is playing a big role in radio listeners music experience but less so for CRF. Thirty-seven percent of all radio P1s have watched YouTube in the last week but only 28 percent of the CRF. The good news for those of us who make a living in radio, is that we still dominate the car. The overwhelming majority of these people surveyed (who were all identified as radio listeners) use radio in the car. In fact, CRF outperform the general public in this area with 91 percent of CRF reporting AF/FM radio usage in-car.

The best part of the Arbitron/Edison study was asking the radio listeners about the importance of staying up-to-date on music. Almost half (45 percent) said it was “very/somewhat important” to learn about and keep up to date with new music. Country fans came in at 41 percent, way behind Rock Music fans who have suffered with really crappy new music for years now. A vast majority (83 percent) of these respondents (identified as radio users) said they would be “Very/Somewhat disappointed” if the AM/FM radio station they listen to most was no longer on the air. I am a little concerned about the 17 percent, who are fans and would not care, even somewhat, that their favorite stations went away. I am guessing these folks come from the aforementioned Rock group who might not notice it for weeks.

(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of MusicRow.)





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