infinite dial

Infinite Dial study shows nearly half of CHR P1s are weekly Net radio listeners

Friday, April 26, 2013 - 11:05am

New details from The Infinite Dial 2013 show that CHR ("Top 40"), rock, urban, and public radio "P1" listeners are significantly more likely than fans of other formats to be engaged with new media, including online listening.

A station's or format's "P1" listeners are those that consume that particular programming above all others. It's typical for about one-third of a station's cumulative listeners to be P1s, and yet they might easily account for two-thirds (or more) of total listening.

Arbitron and Edison Research annually conduct "The Infinite Dial" to examine radio listeners' adoption and engagement of new media technology. They initially released the 2013 edition earlier this month (RAIN coverage here), and presented additional details at RAIN Summit West (here).

The researchers polled listeners of nine different radio formats, and found that just under half (47%) of CHR P1s are weekly online radio listeners (one-third have listened to Pandora in the past seven days). Whereas Net radio's weekly reach is about one-third of the population in general, about 40% of rock, urban, and public radio P1s are weekly online listeners.

More than seven in 10 CHR P1s own a smartphone, more than eight in ten have a social media profile (with almost half using social media several times a day). Additionally, public radio listeners are the most fervent podcast listeners (34% have listened in the last month), and about 40% of public radio and Adult Contemporary P1s own a tablet device.

Arbitron and Edison Research will release specific reports for each of the nine radio formats they studied next month. Read more in Arbitron's press release here.

Facebook, e-mail solidly outpace Twitter for listener-connection, says The Infinite Dial

Monday, April 8, 2013 - 1:00pm

Arbitron and Edison Research last week unveiled the findings of their latest "The Infinite Dial" joint research (in RAIN here). They saved a few gems -- particularly about the engagement of listeners via e-mail and on social media -- for their presentation at yesterday's RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas.

Edison Research president Larry Rosin and Arbitron SVP of Marketing Bill Rose at the Summit revisited the important points from last week's "The Infinite Dial 2013: Navigating Digital Platforms" webinar. But they also explained that their study shows the value of radio's Facebook presence and e-mail listener databases, especially when compared to Twitter. One in ten U.S. radio listeners says they follow their favorite station on Facebook, and 20 million U.S. radio listeners have signed up to receive e-mail from their P1 station (that's 8% of radio listeners), depending on the format (public radio, religious, and rock listeners were most likely to join a station's e-mail list…up to 20% for rock listeners).

On the other hand, just 2% or 3% follow their "P1" station on Twitter. (Twitter's influence, especially in the media, Rosin said, is far greater than its actual usage, they've found.) Bill Rose explained that your station's will likely be your listener base's most tech-savvy segment (including being most likely to use online radio and listen via mobile apps).

Their takeaway: the listeners on your e-mail list can be an extremely valuable asset for you and your advertising clients.

We'll have more coverage from RAIN Summit West in the coming days.

Net radio's reach and TSL surging, 2013 Infinite Dial study shows

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 12:50pm

New data shows that weekly Internet radio listeners now average nearly 12 hours of listening a week. That's almost two additional hours more than the under 10 hours a week figure from last year.

Arbitron and Edison Research yesterday presented the findings of the 2013 edition of their long-running joint research on radio listeners' adoption of new technology.

"The Infinite Dial 2013: Navigating Digital Platforms" reveals Internet radio reaches 45% of Americans (12 and older), about 120 million people, each month (up from 39% last year). About a third (roughly 86 million) listen to online radio weekly.

[Note that "online listening" here refers both to broadcasters' online simulcasts of their on-air content as well as "Internet-only" streams.]

For those who listen to the radio at work, one-third use the computer or a mobile device to tune in.

Leading webcaster Pandora continues to rule the roost in online radio listening, but Clear Channel's iHeartRadio competitor service has made inroads too. Arbitron and Edison say the percentage of Americans who've listened to Pandora in the past month grew from 22% last year to 27% this year. One in five (20%) have listened in the past week.

Another interesting note on Pandora from the study: Nearly half of smartphone owners have at least downloaded the Pandora app. While that number is just 15% for iHeartRadio, 45% of 12+ Americans are aware of the service. That still trails Pandora's 69% awareness level, but significantly leads the 22% of Americans who've heard of Spotify.

Edison Research co-founder and president Larry Rosin and Arbitron SVP/Marketing Bill Rose will walk us through all the findings of "The Infinite Dial 2013: Navigating Digital Platforms" at RAIN Summit West this Sunday in Las Vegas. Rosin will also moderate our "Accelerating Your Audience Growth" panel (which we announced here), to investigate ways to increase listening for your webcast.

Also presenting new research at RAIN Summit West is NPD SVP/Industry Analysis Russ Crupnick, whose company has released results from its Q4 2012 Music Acquisition Monitor study.

Download "The Infinite Dial" summary and presentation from Arbitron here or Edison Research here.

Arbitron, Edison will present 2013 "Infinite Dial" with free webinar

Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 12:45pm

Arbitron and Edison Research will debut the 2013 edition of their annual "The Infinite Dial" study with a free, one-hour webinar on April 2.

We announced here Arbitron SVP/Marketing Bill Rose and Edison Research president Larry Rosin will also present the study at RAIN Summit West on April 7 in Las Vegas. (If you subscribe to RAIN's daily e-mail, look for the RAIN Summit West discount code in the P.S. If you're not subscribed, it's free -- look for the button on the upper right at 

Every year since 1998, the two firms jointly investigate consumer use of media, technology, and digital platforms. This year's edition is called "The Infinite Dial 2013: Navigating Digital Platforms."

More details on the webinar are here.

Billboard suggests ways for Net radio services to be competitive and get noticed

Friday, April 6, 2012 - 1:05pm

Internet radio is a "low-barrier-to-entry" industry. No FCC license is necessary, no huge tower in a cornfield. Get your content together, make a few phone calls, and you can be up and streaming.

The abundance of choice on this "infinite dial" is, more cynically, the result of that low barrier. How does your compelling and enjoyable Internet radio service find welcoming ears that have already been repeatedly disappointed by about a thousand of your well-intentioned by under-achieving competitors? offers some ideas for services "to separate themselves from the crowd." We love reading (and writing) about Internet radio, and we especially appreciate what it says about our industry that it's not at all unusual to see content like this in a music industry publication.

The article is concerned mostly with Pandora and its progeny: algorithm-driven recommendation/personalized playlist services. Billboard writes, "Already there is very little noticeable difference between the music most services play. Of course, these companies would certainly argue that differences exist between the ways services create personalized listening experiences. But from a listener's perspective they're all pretty similar. Over time, recommendation algorithm that generate playlists will advance to the point where one service's radio feature will be, more or less, indistinguishable from another."

The first recommendation is "create the best product." Duh. Actually, Billboard here is referring simply to the ease-of-use of services like Pandora and iHeartRadio, and it makes sense. People enjoy using a product the can easily manipulate, and that responds to them as they think it should. 

"Additional or exclusive content" can also set you apart (e.g. SiriusXM and Howard Stern; iHeartRadio and its AM/FM streams). Again, "gee, thanks!" Certainly the cost to enter the field starts to sharply rise with big-ticket contracts with personalities, artists, and pro sports leagues.

Likely more valuable is Billboard's advice to "find a hook... try being something great to a smaller number of people... some Internet radio services will need to cede the mainstream users to the larger players and find other ways to get a firm toehold in the market." This is the magic right here, where the genius shows through. The most interesting developments in Internet radio will probably happen right here: brilliant thinking leading to unique ways for listeners to enjoy the content they love.

Finally, if you "add features," you can increase the depth of your offering to listeners who might get bored with "default" settings, and be willing to put in the time and effort to take advantage of more powerful customization (Billboard mentions Slacker and Raditaz).

The "infinite dial" truly offers a space for everyone. Only a few will have the means to offer hundreds of genres of music, or the most cutting-edge technology, or top-name exclusive content -- but any webcaster can have a great idea, a unique angle, and superb execution and focus. And that draws a crowd.

Read "Business Matters: Internet Radio Services Need To Separate Themselves from the Crowd" in here.

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