RAIN 7/30: Public radio listeners stay ahead of the curve on streaming, mobile, and social media, Jacobs study shows

Michael Schmitt
July 30, 2012 - 12:55pm

Media usage stats from PRTS4Jacobs Media's fourth annual survey of public radio listeners shows "the high-tech revolution continues," with big growth for mobile device ownership, the use of Internet radio, social networks and other digital services.

The fourth Public Radio Techsurvey (PRTS) found that nearly half (46%) of respondents listen to Internet radio weekly or more. That's up 16% from PRTS3, which was released in early 2011 (RAIN coverage here). Moreover, 18% use Pandora weekly or more (up 17% from PRTS3), while 14% use SiriusXM (up 5%). As for AM/FM, 87% say they listen to at least one hour per day. That's down 2% from PRTS3. 

More than half (52%) of public radio listeners said they own a smartphone -- a growth of 50% from PRTS3. Of those folks, more than 90% download apps. A little under a third of respondents (30%) own a tablet (up 407%). Of those who don't, 37% said they are very or somewhat likely to buy one this year.

Around half say they are able to connect a smartphone or mp3 player to their car and nearly 10% own a car with a "digital dashboard" like Ford's SYNC. That's a desirable platform for web radio -- and a dangerous one for AM/FM to lose -- as 41% of respondents say they do the majority of their radio listening in cars.

PRTS4Jacobs Media's study found "spectacular growth" in Twitter usage, with 18% of respondents using the service. That's up 57% from the previous study. A little over six in ten respondents (63%) have a Facebook profile. All told, 70% of respondents use social media in some way, up from 64% in 2010.

"The data from PRTS4 continues to point to the public radio audience rapidly using new media and gadgets in the pursuit of informing themselves," said Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs. "Station programmers and managers would do well to better understand the fast rate of adoption, and shape content offerings accordingly."

The fourth-annual PRTS involved 49 public radio stations across the U.S. and more than 30,700 respondents. You can find more information from Jacobs Media here.

Michael Schmitt
July 30, 2012 - 12:55pm

If you haven't yet submitted your web radio service to the third-annual RAIN Internet Radio Awards, now is the time to do so. The deadline for entries is tomorrow, Tuesday, July 31 at 5pm Central. Enter your service for free here.

Please also consider encouraging your favorite web radio service to enter before tomorrow's deadline!

The awards are free to enter and celebrate the best of the Internet radio industry in four categories: Best Overall Online Radio Service, Best Streaming Broadcast Station, Best Overall Digital Strategy and Best Single-Stream Webcaster.

Help us make these awards a reflection of the truly impressive growth in our industry by entering right here. Last year's winners include Pandora, WTOP/Washington, D.C., Hot 107 CJNW/Edmonton and HealthRadio.net.

This year's awards will be presented at RAIN Summit Dallas on September 18, another gathering in our growing series of world-class Internet radio conferences. The Summit will include a keynote presentation from Clear Channel President of National Sales, Marketing and Partnerships Tim Castelli.

You can find out more about RAIN Summit Dallas here. And click here to enter your service for free in the RAIN Internet Radio Awards!

Paul Maloney
July 30, 2012 - 12:55pm

Today Inside Radio looks the growing profitability of video ads on radio station sites and streams. The effectiveness of the ads are driving demand, and compelling radio to conceive of new ways to create video ad inventory. 

First, the news source reports that "pre-roll" videos -- those ads you're forced to watch before the content you want begins -- are about 80% of all online video ads; among broadcast radio streams, it's closer to 95%. It's not surprising then that given their position, pre-roll video generates a much higher response than in-stream display or audio ads, and commands higher CPMs (advertisers routinely pay more than $20 for every thousand impressions (cost-per-thousand, or CPM) for streaming video, while audio ads tend to come in between $6 and $10).

The high effectiveness of the ads, and associated revenue, mean advertisers are are demanding more video inventory, and publishers (like radio) are scrambling to meet that demand. The IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) reports online video ad revenue grew 29% to $1.8 billion last year. BIA/Kelsey predicts it will grow 51.6% in 2012 and at a compound annual rate of 36.7% from 2011-2016 (more here). Likewise, Forrester predicts online video advertising will reach $5.4 billion by 2016.

Given this environment, Inside Radio reports some stations and sites are experimenting with "mid-roll" or "in-stream" video ads that run during the spot breaks in their audio streams. The question yet to be answered, of course, is how the effectiveness of these ads could possibly match that of pre-roll video.

"The challenge is compounded by passive listeners who minimize the streaming audio player while engaging in another activity on their screen," writes Inside Radio. "That’s why some audio publishers will only serve video ads based on engagement with the player so the consumer has a higher probability of watching the full-length video ad before they get back to audio content."

Of course, one way to get people to keep the player front and center is: original video content. Inside Radio says "radio stations need to become original video content producers... with access to celebrities, involvement in live events and creative on-air talent, radio has plenty of raw materials to draw upon."

One company that has extended its brands with original video content and seeing growing client demand for video ads is Emmis in New York. "If you’re in the radio business, you better be in the video business," Alexandra Cameron, market manager at Emmis-New York, told the news source. Last July Emmis launched its online music video channel, Loud Digital Network. And just last week Emmis-New York's WQHT launched a new web television drama called "Los Blancos" (our coverage here). Emmis is even making money in video through product placement: Ciroc vodka and Boost Mobile were heavily integrated into live streaming of its Hot 97 Summer Jam concert.

Subscribe to Inside Radio here.

Paul Maloney
July 30, 2012 - 12:55pm

Tom Leykis today pledged his online Top-40 Pure Pop Hits will play 50-thousand songs back-to-back without commercials beginning today at 2pm CT (3pm ET/Noon PT).

Similarly, in July 2010 Leykis launched his indie pop stream New Normal Music by playing 50,000 songs in a row, all less than a year-old (RAIN coverage here). Leykis's NewNormalNetwork also produces or presents active rock New Normal Rock, oldies Great Big Radio, and podcasts like his own high-end cocktails-focused "The Tasting Room." 

In April Leykis returned to the microphone with a daily online show. His last on-air gig ended in February 2009, when KLSX-FM/Los Angeles owner CBS Radio changed the format to top-40 (RAIN coverage).

"50,000 in a row means that we won't play a single commercial for the rest of 2012," said Leykis. "Next time you're listening to hit music, ask yourself why you tolerate the constant commercials, phony rose giveaways and hokey DJs of your local top-40 radio station."

Read the press release here.