USC

USC Annenberg study shows listening to radio as common an online activity as paying bills

Friday, December 16, 2011 - 12:05pm

You may have seen news coverage yesterday of the highlights from ten years of research on Americans' use and attitudes towards the Internet and new technology. The studies were done by the Annenberg School for Communication's Center for the Digital Future, at USC.

While most news sources focused on the report's dire predictions for print media ("Most print newspapers will be gone in five years"), kudos to Inside Radio for digging a little deeper for this tidbit: 22% of study respondents report "going on the Internet at least weekly" to "listen to online radio."Slacker on an iPad

[That data point is actually not from the recently-released highlights of the studies' findings over the last ten years; rather, it's from the 2010 Digital Future Report -- the tenth annual study in the series -- which was released in June.]

While that figure was outranked by online activities like general web-browsing, online banking, social networking, and gaming -- it's interesting that 22% is also the share of respondents who pay bills online. Also keep in mind that the "to listen to online radio" response was distinct from the "to download or listen to music" response (38%).

Here's another point the Annenberg summary made that should be of interest to broadcasters and webcasters: Over the next three years the tablet computer (e.g. Apple iPad) will become consumers' primary tool for most online/computing activities. Use of the trusty desktop will drop to 4-6% (laptops too!). "For the vast majority of Americans, the tablet will be the computer tool of choice by the middle of the decade, while the desktop PC fades away," the research summary reads. Food for thought.

Read Annenberg's highlights and predictions from their ten years of study here. Read highlights from the 2010 Digital Future Report (that has the online radio figure Inside Radio reported) here.

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