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Consumers 'quickly' embrace radio’s digital platforms; Study

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MUMBAI: The proliferation of digital broadcast platforms such as Internet radio, satellite radio, HD and podcasting is a testament to the popularity of radio programming in US.

The Infinite Dial: Radio’s Digital Platforms, a new study by Arbitron Inc. and Edison Media Research, explores this expansion of the radio market and its implications for advertisers and media planners.

“Consumers are quickly embracing radio’s digital platforms and this new research reveals that these advertising vehicles are becoming increasingly viable,” said Arbitron Sr VP marketing Bill Rose.

“Our research shows that regardless of the platform consumers see all these options as merely being new forms of 'radio'” said Edison Media Research president Larry Rosin. “This report provides crucial measurement on the development of radio as it is consumed in new and different ways.”

The findings reported here are based on a 13 January – 12 February, 2006 telephone survey of 1,925 people who were interviewed to investigate Americans’ use of various forms of traditional, online and satellite media.

Growth of Internet Radio

Internet radio is growing rapidly. The monthly audience age 12+ now tops an estimated 52 million; an increase from an estimated 37 million people in 2005. The weekly Internet radio audience also increased 50 percent over the past year, with 12 percent of the US population age 12+ (an estimated 30 million) having listened to Internet radio in the past week, up from 8 percent in 2005, according to the findings.

Advertiser highlights: Online radio reaches nearly one in five (19 percent) persons per week aged 18-34 and 15 per cent of persons aged 25-54. Weekly Online radio listeners are 36 percent more likely than the average consumer to live in a household with an annual income of more than $100,000.

Satellite Radio In 2006, awareness of XM and Sirius satellite radio has reached equal levels of 61 percent awareness each among those aged 12 and older. Nearly one in five non-subscribers to satellite radio say they are 'very' or 'somewhat' likely to subscribe to satellite radio in the next 12 months.

Advertiser highlights: Twenty-seven per cent of satellite radio subscribers live in households with an annual income of more than $100,000, nearly double the percentage of all households (14 per cent).

Podcasting When asked to define podcasting in their own words, there was some confusion among respondents regarding the differences among podcasting, Internet broadcasting and downloadable music. When read a definition, eleven percent of Americans say that they have ever listened to an audio podcast.

Advertising highlights: Podcasting attracts a youthful audience: one out of five who have ever listened to an audio podcast are 12-17 years old, and more than half (53 percent) are under the age of 35.

HD Radio More than one-third of Americans say they are 'very' or 'somewhat' interested in HD Radio; more than 40 percent of satellite subscribers say they are interested in HD Radio as well.

More than one-third of those who said they were interested in HD Radio say they would be likely to purchase an HD Radio receiver at a $100 price point, and 58 percent of those interested say they would be likely to purchase at $50.

AM/FM Radio While there has been tremendous growth in usage of radio’s new digital platforms, AM/FM radio does not appear to be losing Time Spent Listening (TSL). Daily radio TSL is 2 hours 45 minutes for the average consumer, compared with 2 hours 48 minutes among those who listen to digital radio.

Seventy-seven per cent of Americans say they expect to listen to AM/FM radio as much as they do now despite increasing advancements in technology. The same holds true for Internet radio listeners (77 per cent) and those who have tried audio podcasting (73 per cent). Satellite radio subscribers showed slightly less dedication to traditional broadcasting, with 64 per cent saying they plan to continue listening to the same amount of AM/FM radio.

This study, as well as previous studies, may be downloaded free of charge via the Arbitron and Edison Media Research Web sites at www.arbitron.com and www.edisonresearch.com.

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