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HD Radio Reaches About 450,000 Weekly Users, Bridge Finds

Fifty-seven million Americans listen to some form of Internet radio in a typical week.

Fifty-seven million Americans listen to some form of Internet radio in a typical week. Satellite radio’s nearly 15 million subscribers accounts for nearly 5% of the U.S. population, but HD Radio reaches about 450,000 weekly users.

Those are the estimates of Bridge Ratings, which says HD Radio is “making little progress of use among consumers,” with less than 1% of terrestrial radio listeners saying they listen daily to HD.

The company did a national survey to determine use among the various audio media including terrestrial radio, satellite radio, Internet radio, MP3 players and HD Radio. Its research was commissioned by a cell phone company.

“Among Americans using these technologies, terrestrial radio continues to dominate overall market penetration for the number of people listening for five minutes or more in a typical week despite the number of options available,” it found; “93.5% of Americans still listen in an average week, while MP3 players (including iPods) reached 30% of the population.”

Bridge said that although HD Radio represents a very small portion of the market, those who do own the radios spend considerable time listening during most weeks at 12-1/2 hours.

“What’s preventing them from listening more?” Bridge asked. “‘Poor broadcast content’ is the number one most mentioned reason, referring to the lack of programming options that appeal to these users of HD Radio,” Bridge found.

“Traditional radio devoted significant dollars to marketing and building their HD offerings during 2006, but clearly the potential audience does not find most of the programming options to be worthy of high time-spent-listening,” it concluded.

Other TSL findings: Those who listen to satellite radio spend the most time with it, over 21.5 hours per week; Internet radio now garners almost 16 hours per week.