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Study Dives Into Consumers’ Perception of Media

Report finds that radio still ranks high when it comes to reliability and credibility

Daniel Anstandig, Futuri Media
Daniel Anstandig

The perception of any given consumer is apt to change over time about any number of things, be it brand quality, trustworthiness or favoritism.

But a new study proposes that consumers’ perception — at least when it comes to media consumption and revenue — may be a permanent change.

This new study claims significant shifts in how American consumers perceive, consume and pay for media content. It also reveals media executives’ predictions for the media sector and how well they think they can address emerging challenges.

Future of Audience and Revenue” polled more than 2,000 Americans, nearly 200 media executives and a series of focus groups about five key verticals: radio, TV, social media, digital publishing and esports.

“This study reveals tectonic shifts in how media is being produced, perceived, consumed and purchased across all levels of society and media,” said Daniel Anstandig, CEO of Futuri Media, which conducted the survey. “The message is very clear to media executives: now is the time to accelerate innovation to keep pace with media’s evolution, or risk being left behind.”

The survey looked at audience habits, media reliability, and the impact of radio broadcast streaming and radio, among other areas.

One of the survey’s most interesting finds: that media consumers now seem to use the terms “radio” and “TV” fluidly when describing media content, regardless of its true source. While it may have been quite clear to consumers 20 years ago as to what they were watching (watching cable vs. watching network TV, for example), focus group members consistently highlighted non-broadcast content when asked to describe their experience with “radio” and “TV.” Consumers used the terms interchangeably when describing audio or video sources. This suggests an evolution in terms of defining what actually is “radio” or “TV” programming.

When it comes to reliability, however, there is no confusion. The study offered that local radio and local TV are considered reliable for clarity and facts. More specifically, when consumers were asked to consider a range of audio and print brands, those respondents named local radio as the most reliable source for clarity and facts. Specifically, the study found that a majority of those responding said they depend on radio for their pandemic news, a finding that seems to demonstrate the medium’s importance for critical updates.

Futuri MediaPerhaps not surprisingly, the study found that content consumption has grown even while content teams have been downsized and revamped. And now consumers want even more content. According to the survey, 57% of respondents watched streamed content more often over the past few months. Approximately, 30% listened to local AM/FM stations more often as well as more TV (51%) and social media (48%).

The study also said that the media executives that responded are nervous about the future. There are gaps between emerging issues that media executives considered to be important and their confidence in the industry’s ability to address them. For example, 84% believe it’s important to respond to new and disruptive competitors. Unfortunately, only 54% feel confident in the industry’s ability to do so.

The study also explored the impact of self-driving cars, 5G, broadcast and streaming radio, music streaming, eSports and gaming.

The study was conducted by Futuri, a provider of cloud-based audience engagement and sales intelligence software. They were aided by SmithGeiger Group, a market research specialist. Additional details on the study will be released on Sept. 23. There will be a series of in-depth webinars on Oct. 12.