On-air to On-line

I caught the live meeting online from Arbitron and Edison Media Research. The title; The Infinite Dial 2008: Radio’s Digital Future.  The topic: AM/FM, Online, Satellite, HD Radio, Podcasting, and a splash of social media.

Tom Webster, the presenter, is someone I count as a friend and I always look forward to whatever he has to say. At the appointed hour, after the attendee count climbed past 1000, he did not disappoint…me anyway. Others in radio…not so much. You can see and hear the presentation for yourself here. A few of my takeaways…

  1. Broadband access is proliferating. 8 in 10 Americans have access to the net with 76% of them having broadband service. So how about we ditch the mp3 and use a larger file (WAV) for audio. We have the bandwidth now.
  2. As far as the age breakout of online listeners, it’s fairly well distributed and surprisingly, the 35-44 year olds make up 27% of the audience. Take that you whacky millennials.
  3. Satellite Radio, which shows similar demographics as online radio, has leveled off in growth. Something you might expect in light of the XM-Sirius merger and the consumer uncertainty that goes with it. In addition, with no big talent “gets” or development of some other press worthy announcements, the word of mouth is not helping in the marketing efforts for either service. There are only so many Howard Sterns out there.

  1. I love the look at ipod/mp3 usage. 37% of those
    surveyed own an mp3 player of some kind. If you look closely you’ll see
    most of that growth is driven by Apple products. Go Steve.Edison_logo_2
  2. Terrestrial radio listening has been impacted the most in the
    younger age groups. This further makes the point that radio must
    embrace this audience again…or is it too late?
  3. Podcasting use is on the rise. There will be more about podcasting
    after Edison releases those details in conjunction with the Association
    of Downloadable Media
    at ad:tech in San Francisco.
  4. 1 in 4 have a social network profile page (probably posting stuff
    they shouldn’t). Note that online radio listeners are more likely to
    have said profile page. It stands to reason; those using new media are
    more likely to participate in it.
  5. Finally, HD radio needs to do something drastic to gain interest
    and audience. That or persuade Steve Jobs to slap it on an iPod.

Interesting info that shows what many have expected and some have
refused to embrace. New media is reaching past the early adopters. Of
course, monetizing these opportunities will continue to be the
challenge. The one who figures out a way to overcome the “cost per
way of selling media, of any kind, will be the true king or
queen of all media.