A study of global mobile device behavior shows rapid growth in the use of those devices to stream audio and video. Mobile Life is an annual study from TNS of global device consumer behavior.
The study is huge – 34,000 interviews with mobile users in 43 countries. But this chart, which shows the activity level of various services on mobile devices from 2010 to 2011 shows streaming music and video as rising from 0 to significant in a very short period of time.
Pandora, the most listened to Internet radio platform in the US, sees at least 50 percent of listening occurring on mobile devices. Dashboard devices that enhance ease of listening in cars will likely accelerate growth.
The ubiquity of mobile streaming, combined with the allure of the devices themselves, are a huge threat to broadcast listening, and it is a small wonder that broadcast advocates want to see FM chips built in and promoted. It’s also possible that expensive data plans that make it difficult to stream could drive some mobile FM listening on those devices. While I’m skeptical of the uptake that listening to FM on a smartphone will see from consumers, I get why NAB and individuals like Jeff Smulyan of Emmis Broadcasting are pushing it. As mobile usage continues to soar, being part of the mobile content package could be a critical piece of broadcasting’s survival.