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2016 Moms & Media

| May 6, 2016

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant


cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND, RI — A mother employed full time is a heavier media user than the population overall.  And as Secretary of The [family] Treasury, she means a lot to stations and advertisers.

  • She’s making purchasing decisions for herself and the entire household.
  • Her lifestyle is mobile, allowing for engagement at any time or anywhere.
  • She is very active on social media, using multiple sites.
  • As a multi-tasker, Mom will find time for new media in her day.

So, just in time for Mother’s Day, Melissa DeCesare — VP of the Edison Research unit “The Research Moms” – anddecesaremelissa herself “a mom of two daughters” – walked webinar attendees through her firm’s 6th annual “Moms & Media” study, sponsored by Triton Media.  It’s a national telephone survey, conducted in January; and “Mom” is defined as a woman having a child under 18 living in her household.

“Multitasking Moms are also multimedia Moms.”

“Mom has a serious need to be connected,” given her speed-of-life, and with the wireless phone now virtually an appendage.

  • 93% are online SOMEWHERE.
  • 83% have WiFi @ home.
  • 65% are connected in 2 or more locations.
  • Significant: 51% of Moms access the Internet most via cell phone (41% via computers, 8% on tablets).

It makes sense, with 91% of Moms now toting wireless phones.  And when DeCesare observed that “smartphones dominate the mobile space,” it seemed like an understatement:

  • 2009: 10% of all Edison “Infinite Dial” study respondents said they owned smartphone; 8% of Moms.
  • 2016: 76% overall; 79% of Moms.

Among Mom’s media preferences, AM/FM is aging more gracefully than computers, which “simply can’t compete with the convenience” of smartphones.  I still wince when I hear “still” applied to the viability of broadcast audio, but stations were, after all, the original mobile media.

  • 77% surveyed continue to use radio weekly, “either over the air or online.”
  • Meanwhile, weekly desktop/laptop listening has dropped from 70% in 2014 to 61% in 2015, to 39% now.
  • Listening via tablets has peaked (37% — 38% — 35% respectively).

Regardless of device, “Mom finds weekly time for online radio.” 

Whether she’s tuned-into AM or FM stations’ streams or Internet-only audio sources, Moms stream more than total listeners monthly and weekly.  Moms who listened online in the last week averaged a whopping 12 hours and 19 minutes.

At whose expense?  More of this found time came from thin air than on-air.  Yes, 34% of TSL replaced former AM/FM consumption; but 46% is added media consumption time, “not taken from other audio sources.”  The pie itself is bigger.

But here’s a data point that’s chilling to broadcasters, and underlines the necessity of playing on the mobile platform:

“Average number of radios in the home?”  1.9 now, down from 3.1 in 2008.

Broadcasters’ new competition on The Infinite Dial?

“More than half of Moms have used Pandora,” still King Kong in the pure play netcast jungle.

Services Mom reports having-tried: Services she says she uses weekly:
Pandora 53% Pandora 34%
iHeart Radio 21% iHeart Radio 12%
Apple Music 15% Apple Music 8%
Spotify 11% Spotify 8%
Amazon Music 11% Amazon Music 6%.

 She isn’t just using her mobile phone to stream tunes. 

88% are social networking; where Facebook dominates:

  • 79% of Moms use it, 78% use it most among social networks.
  • “Moms compulsively check Facebook daily,” checking-in an average 10.5 times each 24 hours (compared to 6.9% for all Facebook members). “THIS is the power of mobile, right here,” DeCesare proclaims, citing what she terms “F.O.M.O., Fear Of Missing Out.”

Weekly use:

  • Facebook: 74%
  • Pinterest: 31%
  • Instagram: 19%
  • Google+: 10%
  • Snapchat: 10%
  • LinkedIn: 9%
  • Twitter: 7%
  • WhatsApp: 6%
  • Vine: 4%
  • Tumblr: 2%
  • Kik: 2%

And witness the clear pattern in % of Moms using social networking web sites several times per day:

  • 2015: 56%
  • 2014: 54%
  • 2014: 49%
  • 2013: 47%
  • 2012: 46%
  • 2011: 37%
  • 2010: 32%
  • 2009: 18%
  • 2008: 11%


  • In this election year, 30% of Moms use Facebook to follow political news and candidates.
  • “Half of Moms [51%] now use Pinterest;” up from 43% a year ago, 29% in 2014, 22% in 2013.
  • Her Twitter use seems to have peaked. 15% of Moms Tweet now (17% in 2015, 18% in 2014).

Like binge-watching at home, Mom-on-the-go likes on-demand audio.

Increasingly broadcasters are playing defense in the so-called Connected Car, and survey data demonstrate that “listening to podcasts in the car is on the rise for Moms.”  Asked “Where do you listen most often to podcasts?” the sample replied:

Home Car Work Gym
2015 60% 11% 18% 6%
2016 56% 19% 16% 4%

Unsurprising, given the busy blur of Mom’s routine.  And with that phone always at-hand, it doesn’t take a new-tech dashboard to put on-demand on the menu.  “On which of the following do you most often listen to audio podcasts?”

Computer Smartphone, tablet, portable audio player
2015 39% 61%
2016 29% 71%

And take “on-demand” literally.  Asked “Which method do you use to listen to podcasts most often?” Moms sampled say:

  • “Click and listen immediately:” 69%.  “They’re not waiting,” DeCesare reckons.
  • “Download manually to listen later:” 18%
  • “Subscribe to and download automatically to listen later:” 13%

Think “audio book” sounds Don Draper-era?  Think again.  With on-demand media on-fire, this year’s study, for the first time, probed audio book consumption.  Logical question, since “Moms multi-task, so audio books are uniquely suited to her life:”

  • “Half of moms [50%] have listened to an audio book.”
  • Those who have listen to more than 6 a year.

Worth a meeting.

The bottom line?  YOURS, if your business model is confined to feeding real-time audio to a transmitter.  Based on this survey data, Edison’s Melissa DeCesare concludes that “Mom continues to favor technology and makes time for it.”

As you digest all-of-the-above, opportunities are obvious.  Look for the webinar slides at EdisonResearch.com.

As the session ended, and Mother’s Day weekend began, Melissa reminded participants: “Call your Mom…on her cell phone!”


Holland Cooke (www.HollandCooke.com) is a media consultant, working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet.  Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke, and meet him at TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations at Hofstra University on Friday, May 20, when he presents “Talk Radio: The Next Generation.”

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Category: Analysis