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“Navigating The Digital Landscape”

Key radio listening locations - the home, the car, & at-work - are changing 321 stations | 14 radio formats | 51,760 respondents | 5 generations

Bingham Farms, MI — In Jacobs Media’s new web study of radio listeners, a big story is how radio’s traditional listening locations – the home, the car, and the workplace – are undergoing change. From content consumed to new distribution outlets to emerging gadgetry, the traditional pattern of media usage and radio listening are changing – in some cases, rapidly.

The media habits of 14 format core audiences, along with five generations, are examined in this mega-survey of radio listeners. From Boomers to Millennials, different patterns of consumption are emerging, providing radio broadcasters with information from which they can map out game plans and strategies. 

TS13 was conducted from January 16 – February 27 of this year. Stakeholder stations participated in a webinar earlier this week, and the results of the study will be released over the next few months. 

As Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs points out, “We’ve been focused on the car for several years in Techsurvey – and for good reason. But as time goes on, radios are disappearing from the home front, and being replaced in many cases by smart TVs, wireless audio systems, and ‘smart speakers’ like Amazon Echo and Google Home. The ‘Alexa Factor’ is a big finding in this year’s study of radio listeners.”

Techsurvey13 provides two different “pyramids” for stakeholder stations. The “Media Pyramid” contains broad categories, including smartphone and tablet ownership, audio and video streaming, and this year, devices like the Amazon Echo. The “Brand Platform Pyramid” unveiled in 2015 continues to provide fascinating usage information about big brands that include Snapchat, Netflix, TuneIn, and Shazam.

Jacobs continues, “Devices like the Echo and Google Home are in 11% of our respondents’ homes. While smartwatch ownership has doubled from 2016, these devices are still trying to discover their true value proposition. In the meantime, most other categories are showing growth, including podcasting, mobile devices, and audio and video streaming.”

This year’s Media Pyramid is below:

More than nine of ten respondents spend at least one hour a day with radio and/or television, the foundation of this pyramid. 

Other highlights include:

  • The home is the new car – While 88% of homes have a working radio, that’s not the case with Millennials, where only three-fourths (76%) have a radio at their residence. Techsurvey13 shows wireless speaker systems, smart TVs, and now devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home showing up in homes.
  • Oh, Alexa! – In its debut year, 11% of the entire sample own “smart speakers.” And they are increasingly using voice commands on their devices. Overall, nearly half (45%) frequently or occasionally use their voice, especially owners of gadgets like the Echo and Google Home. 
  • It’s free – Consumers love broadcast radio for the music, personalities, and emotional drivers such as companionship and mood elevation. But in a new response option in TS13, nearly six in ten (57%) say a main reason they enjoy listening to the radio is that it’s a free service.
  • The mobile revolution marches on – Nearly nine of ten respondents (87%) now own a smartphone and two-thirds (68%) now have a tablet – mobile continues to grow year after year. And more consumers wake up with a mobile phone than a clock radio. 
  • Radio’s digital platforms are growing – While 74% of consumption to the average station in TS13 take place on “regular radios,” 22% of usage is now occurring via computer streams, mobile apps, and podcasts. The shift is more pronounced with each passing year. 
  • Who’s using headphones? – Overall, 15% of respondents in TS13 use headphones half the time or more often while listening to radio. These consumers are most likely to be members of Gen Z, Hispanics, African-Americans, and especially fans of the Rhythmic CHR and Urban AC formats. 
  • Podcasting is growing, but ever so slowly – More than one-fifth (21%) listen to podcasts weekly or more often. And the preferred device for podcast listening is the smartphone, chosen by a majority (51%) of regular podcast users.
  • Smartwatches are growing…but slowly – Ownership of connected watches doubled from last year, but only 8% of respondents own one, a gadget that is in search of a market. 
  • Privacy issues – For the first time since it’s been included in our Techsurveys, fewer streamers of our stakeholder stations express a willingness to register to access the stream. Yet, nearly two-thirds (65%) say they’d provide basic information – name, email address, and zip code. 

This year’s Brand/Platform Pyramid provides data points that help broadcasters get more granular with their audiences, identifying the key media brands they use. For each of the brands and platforms, this pyramid shows weekly usage (with the exception of broadcast radio which is one hour/day or more, and SiriusXM which is based on subscribership/free trial).

Here are some of the highlights from this year’s Brand Platform pyramid:

  • Three-fourths (75%) are on Facebook weekly or more, making it the dominant social media platform. One-fourth spend time on Instagram (25%), showing solid growth from TS12.
  • Nearly half (48%) watch YouTube videos weekly or more, while more than four in ten (41%) connect with Netflix during a 7-day period, up sharply from last year.
  • One-fourth (25%) listen to Pandora on a weekly basis, a drop for the second year in a row. While Spotify (12%) is up incrementally.
  • Of the social media brands on this pyramid, Snapchat (14%) is showing the strong year-to-year growth. 

Both pyramids are available by format, gender, and generation, making them useful tools in better understanding how radio listeners are expanding their horizons.

This year’s survey covers key areas of interest to all media brands, including actionable information about connected and autonomous cars, social media usage, mobile devices and apps, audio and video streaming, and other key topics. 

Techsurvey13 was powered by NuVoodoo who provided analytical and platform support.

TS13 Slide Deck Here

Jacobs Media is a Detroit-based media research and consulting firm, specializing in radio, television, and new media. Its mobile app company, jacapps develops applications for smartphones. To date, jacapps has created 1,000 apps that have generated more than 25 million downloads.

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