Radio Listening in the Car Is Strong … But …

Poll suggests broadcasters need to be wary of the future
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An online poll conducted by Vision Critical, a market research firm, in the United States, Canada and the U.K. produced both good and bad news for radio broadcasters.

The study involved radio listener behavior in the car; the sample was limited to those who spent at least 15 minutes there listening to radio.

The good news is that 85 percent of those polled in the U.S. listed broadcast radio as the primary form of entertainment in the car.

The bad news is that it looks like the only direction that number can go in is down.

Half of the respondents indicated that they also listened to CDs and/or cassettes (what? No eight-track option?) in the car, while around a quarter were doing the iPod/MP3 player/smartphone input route. Notably, almost 10% were streaming audio or listening to a podcast via a smartphone.

There was a 16% nod towards satellite radio.

A secondary line of questioning asked whether poll participants were interested in bringing new listening technologies to the car. Just under 60% were “interested.”

A press release offers some caveats (beyond the fact it was an online poll); it advised caution in assuming that increased use of in-car audio alternatives will displace listening to terrestrial or satellite radio. “Even considering the prospect of online audio services in the car, these new alternatives may simply replace the use of other forms of music such as CDs ? much like CDs replaced cassettes and eight-tracks.”

It also stated: “Online in-car access provides opportunities for radio stations that embrace interactive and mobile platforms. Given the options that are becoming available, listeners will be expecting more from their radio station than a linear broadcast.”

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