Pew Study: Audio Is The New Radio

Radio is well positioned for a transition to a digital future, according to a new study by the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism. Radio has the ability to maintain and grow its audience through several digital audio platforms and is doing a better job than other traditional media such as television, newspapers and magazines.

Radio is on its way to becoming a new medium called Audio, according to this study. Listeners are tuning in via many channels including Internet radio, podcasts and satellite radio, which are contributing audience growth. Not all newer digital audio technologies are growing audience however — the study notes that HD Radio continues to struggle both with the lack of audience and a static number of stations converting to the HD platform of delivery.

Radio is experiencing an “intriguing fragmentation” across other audio platforms, which are also providing broadcasters with opportunities to grow revenue. Over the next five years, Internet radio and mobile revenues will continue to increase.

Source: Veronis Suhler Stevenson, “Communications Industry Forecast 2008-2012”

The main focus of the study is the impact of new media on news, and the appetite for radio news is dropping on AM/FM stations. But 24% of adults 18+ indicated they had listened to a newscast online – either streamed or downloaded. A stated conclusion is that the slow increase in online listening corresponds to a simultaneous loss of broadcast radio audience.

All of this emphasizes the wisdom of broadcasters who are distributing their audio content across multiple channels. It’s more important than ever to strategically develop a diverse digital audio platform that feeds the digital audio audience’s diverse appetite.

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