The latest trends for Radio and New Media according to Edison

The folks from Edison Research and Triton Digital teamed up to check the pulse of the radio and new media. The study known as the Infinite Dial 2015 is the 23rd such study Edison has conducted since 1998 and asked 2,002 Americans about their use of digital platforms and new media. The study was conducted in early February and used Random Digit Dial (RDD) sampling to telephones and cell phones.

Here are some of the key points that jumped out to me. More Americans are consuming radio online than ever before.

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The smartphone continues to be the most popular way to consume on-line radio. This is why radio stations need great apps that are easy to download and easy to use. Use the power of radio to drive listeners to Google and the iTunes Store to download your app. Then promote usage on the air. Sell the benefits and remind them why they should listen to your radio station online.

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The number of people listening to on-line radio in the car continues to grow. This is another reason why radio stations need to make it easy for listeners to consume your product even when they are out of range of your transmitter. Given this is a US study, I suspect a lot of this on-line in car listening is actually to Pandora and other apps, most of whom are not currently available in Canada. But that will change in the next few years, so as an industry we need to focus on creating great content and making it available on all the platforms our listeners use.

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Radio remains one of the top ways that Americans keep up to date with music. Satellite radio remains near the bottom and iTunes does not fare much better.

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Over 70% of Americans now have a smart phone, which is up 10% over 2014. And when you look at smartphone sales in the last few months clearly the iPhone 6 and 6+ have been very good for Apple as they retake the lead as the world’s #1 smartphone seller.  These figures show that 7 in 10 people would have a radio in their pocket if the regulators would force the cell phone companies to active the FM chip that now exists in every smartphone sold in North America.

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With smarter TV’s come more features and tools. Most TV’s sold today come with the ability to hook them up to the internet, and more Americans are doing this.

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Radio is still the king in the car, but this number is down a little from previous years.

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Now over 73% of Americans are using Social media.

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Facebook is still the place to be, but their market share in down a little from previous years. Among 12 to 24 year-olds, Facebook (43 percent) is the most used, beating Instagram (18 percent), Snapchat (15 percent), and Twitter (8 percent).

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“Media consumption habits have changed dramatically in the past five years,” noted Tom Webster, Vice President of Strategy and Marketing, Edison Research. “Online Radio has become mainstream, Podcasts are enjoyed by a significant portion of the population, and even the social media platforms that dominated five years ago have shifted. It’s vital for marketers and advertisers to understand and plan for these shifts.” 

I again stress this is an American study and measures consumer behaviors in the USA. I think it is fair to assume that if the same study was conducted in Canada  we would see similar results in many areas. Perhaps radio would do a little better in Canada, because at this point Canadian radio is better than what you hear in the USA in similar sized markets. Typically we have more staff in our stations and we provide more locally produced content that is targeted at the local market. However this should be a wake-up call for owners and operators of radio, because this study clearly indicates that as consumers are presented with more and more options, they are choosing to spend less time with radio.

Your can read the full study here thanks to Edison Research.