Radio remains king of all in-car media


In the face of Pandora, satellite, MP3 players, etc., in the dash, broadcast radio continues to dominate the choices for information and entertainment in the car, according to the new national survey from Arbitron, Edison Research, and Scarborough Research.  “The Road Ahead: Media and Entertainment in the Car,” conducted in July, looks at consumer usage of 16 different in-car media and entertainment choices. The study, revealed at The NAB-RAB Radio Show in Chicago, also weighs consumer interest telematics technology, which enables a variety of applications that share data between the vehicle and information and entertainment networks.

Key findings:
* AM/FM radio continues to be the top choice for in-car media and entertainment, with 84% of all drivers or passengers reporting use of AM/FM radio in-car — compared to the next highest device, the CD player, at 68%.

* When share of time spent while driving is measured, AM/FM radio dominates with nearly two-thirds of all ‘in-car time’ (64%). The CD player is in second place at 21%; all other devices combined make up 15%.

* While various digital options such as satellite radio and connecting one’s iPod to the car system remain rather small, they are growing and very well-loved by those who use them.

* In-car AM/FM radio usage is strongest in the key buying demos it has long targeted, reaching nearly 90% of adults age 25 to 54.

* One in four (24%) persons age 18 and older have used their iPod/MP3 player to listen to audio in their car; more than half (55%) of 18-24s have done so.
6% of persons age 18 and older and one in five persons aged 18 to 24 (19%) have listened to Pandora on their cell phone in the car.

* There is a high level of interest in newly developed vehicle telematics. More than 60% say they are interested in accident response features, stolen vehicle recovery systems, parked vehicle tampering alerts, and remote car unlocking capability.

* There is also significant consumer interest in several in-car media applications: 41% are interested in pause, rewind and replay functionality for radio in-car and 40% are interested in built-in wireless internet for the car.

“We are at the dawn of another wave of in-car media and entertainment options,” said Larry Rosin, President, Edison Research. “In 2003 we looked at the in-car environment just as iPods, GPS, and satellite radio were starting and these devices have now become more widely used. Today telematics and other in-car media options are bringing new capabilities that have captured substantial interest among consumers.”

RBR-TVBR observation: We’re checking into it, but are a bit surprised that the report seemingly does not ask about, nor details anything about HD Radio multicast channels, Artist Experience or iTunes tagging. With all of the money broadcasters have spent on equipment and licensing for HD Radio, it would be nice to know how it resonates with listeners.