Moss on: Smartphone Listening Habits Studied

A Canadian research firm, Vision Critical, recently completed an online poll attempting to gauge smartphone and iPod Touch users’ listening habits.

Whether smartphone users are listening to broadcast radio was a question the Internet-based poll was trying to determine. And if so, to what extent?

The poll, geographically limited to the United Kingdom, Canada and the U.S., used approximately 3,000 respondents, evenly distributed.

Ignoring the geographical misweighting in responses and that the poll was self-limited to those responding on the Internet, the poll still presented valuable information.

For radio broadcasters, Vision Critical had good news and bad news.

On a weekly basis, about one-fifth of the respondents said they had listened to FM/AM broadcast radio on their smartphones or iPod Touches. U.K. broadcasters should be happier, with almost a third taking a listen at least once a week.

Vision Critical’s results indicated that the U.S. audience’s greatest listenership was reserved for Web radio and music services, with nearly one-third of respondents listening in once a week.

Another highlight was that U.S. smartphone users made significant and far greater use of the Pandora Internet music service. According to Vision Critical, 42 percent of the respondees had listened to Pandora within the previous year.

Pandora isn’t legal in Canada or the U.K. so its listenership was much smaller. However, in the U.K. the Spotify online music service garnered a little over one-fifth of the audience on a weekly basis.

Not surprisingly, the younger the respondent, the more likely they were to have listened to Pandora. Pandora easily outdistanced competitors such as Rhapsody, and Yahoo! Music in popularity.

Vision Critical Senior VP and Managing Director for Radio Practice Jeff Vidler said: “It’s no coincidence that the one market where we see Web-only services trump broadcast radio on smartphone apps is the only jurisdiction where Pandora is legally available — and it speaks to the need for U.S. broadcasters to step up to the plate with their own streaming apps before Pandora owns the distribution channel.”

Further results and the summation of the poll, “Radio Futures 2010,” will be presented at the RAIN Summit West conference on April 12 in Las Vegas, concurrent with the NAB Show.

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