Jacobs Updates the Pyramid

Study reflects the impact of smartphones, Pandora; HD Radio ownership, still small, jumps 83%
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The latest Jacobs Media Technology Survey (Roman numeral VI, for those who are counting) is out. You could view it as having good news or bad news for radio broadcasters.

The good would be that a majority of the rock radio listeners surveyed have yet to move to listening to radio on a smartphone or to have become entranced by Pandora. They are still listening to broadcast: RF-based radio.

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Jacobs issued its annual "media usage pyramid," shown. Data at right shows percent change from last year's study.
The bad is that the trend of people migrating from over-the-air broadcast radio continues unabated. People have so many sources of media temptation and the number is multiplying, practically weekly.

Listeners were surveyed via the Web at 78 U.S. rock radio stations. The survey also found that while only a little more than a third are using the Pandora streaming music service, that group enjoyed it and regularly used it.

The glass half-filled/half-empty angle is that many people are listening to established broadcast stations, only on non-radio devices. The implication is that stations with strong branding IDs can remain strong in the new media future.

An interesting finding was that "Christmas" seasonal music is popular and took a huge bite out of rock stations during the Christmas season. Satellite radio listening was flat for the fourth year in a row, according to the report.

Additional findings included an increase in users using their iPod-style music devices in their cars and more Internet-streamed music listening. The survey also contains information on Internet social networking — which is growing, as long as its name isn't MySpace. Facebook is a "category killer," the company said, while LinkedIn has doubled and Twitter tripled in use.

The study uses rock radio listeners who are predominantly members of station e-mail clubs. Jacobs cautions, "This is a web poll, and cannot replicate all radio listeners or even all rock radio listeners."

Among the specific findings:

About three in 10 respondents among the polling universe of listeners to rock stations have a smartphone; and of those, eight in 10 are downloading apps. A majority of smartphone users have owned the devices for a year. More than half of smartphone owners who enjoy apps have downloaded a radio-related app, included "aggregated apps" like Clear Channel's iheartradio, branded station apps, or apps for music services like Pandora.

Among respondents who listen to streaming audio, nearly four in 10 access Pandora. "Pandora has momentum, and the majority of those who listen agree it is better for music than most commercial radio stations," Jacobs stated. "It is especially popular among fans of the alternative and triple A formats, as well as smartphone owners." The research company said the study is reflective of Pandora's "rampant growth" and that a quarter of its listeners tune in on mobile devices.

Internet streaming continues to grow. More than four in 10 listen to streaming radio at least weekly, "and local station streams lead the way."

Two-thirds of respondents now own an iPod-like device, and of them, six in 10 can now connect them to the vehicles they drive, "signaling more competition for broadcast radio for in-car listening."

Jacobs issued its annual "media usage pyramid." Still at the top, with the smallest usage, is HD Radio, now at 4%; its usage increased 83% from a year ago in this survey.

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