Think the iPod and mobile phones have killed radio listening in the young demos? Think again. Analysis of a landmark study for the Council for Research Excellence (CRE), funded by The Nielsen Company, finds that younger people are consuming audio from lots of sources, but radio still accounts for the biggest share of their listening.
As indicated by its name, the Video Consumer Mapping Study focused first on how consumers were watching television and other sources of video. CRE released the study in March, with the headline finding that live TV viewing was still #1 with younger demos, despite their comfort with the Internet and other video sources. But there was lots and lots of data to pour over for other media, including audio sources, which is exactly what Michael Link, Chief Methodologist at The Nielsen Company, has been doing.
The study methodology had observers follow 376 people in Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Dallas for two days – one in the Spring and one in the Fall of 2008 – to record their media usage. The professional observers recorded how much time people actually spent using each type of media, ranging from TV, radio and newspapers to the Internet, iPods and mobile phones. (An additional study of 100 people in Indianapolis studied how their media usage changed when they were given the opportunity to add additional devices at greatly reduced prices.) So, when the survey participants listened to radio, the exact amount of listening was noted.
“What you find is a much more complex view of what’s going on with audio than we have been led to believe. It really seems like the young group – they tend to be more audiophiles. They’re really into their audio. So, it’s not that they abandoned radio, per se, but they essentially augment with some of these portable media/digital media devices,” Link told RBR-TVBR.
Link said the study data showed that there are four tiers of audio usage. He particularly noted the magnitude of difference in daily listening to radio vs. iPod/MP3 players.
The four tiers of audio usage:
1) broadcast & satellite radio (79.1% daily reach; 122 minutes daily use among users);
2) CDs and tapes (37.1% daily reach; 72 minutes);
3) portable audio [ipods/MP3 players] ( 11.6% daily reach; 69minutes), digital audio stored on a computer such as music files downloaded or transferred to and played on a computer (10.4% daily reach; 65 minutes average use), and digital audio streamed on a computer (9.3% daily reach; 67 minutes);
4) audio on mobile phones (<2% daily reach; 9 minutes).
If you looked at the raw data back in March, you may have concluded that the Internet had surpassed radio as the #2 medium for young demos. However, Link’s latest analysis separated “media” usage of a computer from time spent with email and software programs. “Among key ‘advertising-based’ media platforms, live television had the highest reach and daily usage among users (95.3%, 331 minutes), followed by broadcast radio (77.3% reach, 109 minutes), Web/Internet [excluding use of email] (63.7%, 77 minutes), newspapers (34.6%, 41 minutes), and magazines (26.5%, 22 minutes),” his analysis concluded.
The complete analysis is available as a pdf in the attachment box on the right.
There’s still more to come. Link is still digging into the CRE data to produce detailed reports on online usage and on out-of-home video viewing.
RBR-TVBR observation: The bottom line is that heavy audio users haven’t quit listening to radio – they just listen to a lot of other places where they can get music and other audio content.
Many of the other audio sources don’t have advertising opportunities, so radio needs to make it clear to advertisers that the young demos can still be reached – and radio is the way to do it.