The Infinite Dial 2017

| March 10, 2017

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — 170-million Americans 12+ listen to online radio each month.  That’s 61% reach, according to the Edison Research/Triton Digital “2017 Infinite Dial Study” released yesterday, the latest installment in an series of surveys about consumer usage of media and technology, ongoing since 1998. 

This survey defines “online radio” as “listening to AM/FM radio stations online and/or listening to streamed audio content available only on the Internet” (i.e., Pandora/Spotify/Apple Music/etc). 

See the summary at EdisonResarch.com.  My short version:

  • The weekly online radio audience is now 140 million, 53% of P12+. And TSL surges to an all-time high of 14:39/wk.
  • Pandora continues to lead in the online radio space — 32% of Americans have listened in the past month — but Spotify is a strong second at 18%. iHeartRadio is #3 at 13%.
  • Among factors driving Internet audio consumption:
  1. Smartphones: 81% of us tote one, some 226 million Americans, younger people more so. 2/3 of podcast listening is on phones.  More on that in a minute.
  2. Tablets: 53% (148 million) now own ‘em.
  3. Amazon Echo and Google’s Home: Awareness of either device is 63%; ownership is 7%. So even after Alexa showed up under many Christmas trees, these voice-controlled devices are likely just beginning mass adoption.  As the Infinite Dial results were unveiled, Triton Digital President of Market Development John Rosso called this “an extraordinary opportunity for increased consumption of internet radio in the home.”  And take it from your consultant – who listens to broadcast stations for a living – these devices can re-introduce radio to households where AM/FM receivers have gotten scarce.
  4. Netflix – which this research tells us is available to HALF (not a misprint) of Americans 12+ — is among services driving our on-demand content habit. Little surprise that podcasting continues to click…
  • There’s 60% awareness (168 million) of the term “podcasting;” and 24% (67 million) listen monthly (21% last year, 14% five years ago). 15% (42 million) listen weekly.  Average number listened-to per week: 5.  Here too, younger listeners listen most.  #1 listening location: home.  Average number of podcasts-subscribed-to: 6.
  • In-car online listening is up, again. 40% now listen “from a cell phone you have connected to a car audio system” (37% last year, 17% five years ago).  But…
  • Broadcast radio still tops “audio sources used in primary car:”
  1. AM/FM: 82%
  2. CD: 52%
  3. Owned digital music: 45%
  4. Online radio: 26%
  5. Satellite radio: 22%
  6. Podcasts: 19%
  • Social Media: Facebook is still T-Rex; except among 12-24s, with whom Snapchat has a slight edge.

The bottom line?  The bottom line!  Edison Research VP/Strategy Tom Webster reckons that “advertising models are going to have to adapt, and adapt quickly, to the American consumer’s increasing willingness to curate their own media mix and avoidance of traditional advertising messages.”

Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet.  Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke; and meet HC at TalkersNY2017 June 2.

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Category: Analysis