As iTunes announces their streaming radio service to launch this fall, Pandora continues to make deals that put their service in the dashboard, where they can continue to expand audience. According to wsj.com yesterday, Pandora will be available and installed in one-third of new cars sold in the US this year.
That impressive stat brings the streaming service a lot of new listeners – Pandora says they have seen more than 2.5 million unique activations through integrations from the 23 major automotive brands and eight aftermarket manufacturers they are installed with.
Meanwhile, the popularity of streaming and the connected dashboard is not being overlooked by Sirius XM. Despite deals that already have their satellite service installed in a long list of vehicles. Sirius XM has been improving its streaming offering of late, and just announced a deal with Ford that will pair both its satellite and online radio offerings in new Ford cars with Sync AppLink.
Meanwhile, tuner platforms like TuneIn and Aha Radio both have integration deals with auto manufacturers as well, and folks like me connect just using their smartphones. Audio options in the car are expanding, and the big services have taken note. Is the next new thing an iTunes radio in your dashboard? If so, it will likely be one that will sync with your iPhone…
An interesting new study by GroupM Next compares broadcast and internet radio listeners. GroupM Next is the “forward thinking, innovation unit” of GroupM, the largest conglomerate of Ad Agencies in the world. The unit studies consumer use of new platforms and provides insight to agencies on usage of such.
The study reveals several positive facts about the Internet radio audience. The average age of an Internet radio listener is 34 years old versus the average age of a broadcast radio listener which is 47 years old. Since the average income was found to be similar in both groups, the Internet radio audience is more affluent given their substantially younger age.
86% of Internet radio listeners listen to free services and have never paid to listen. They don’t mind ads, and don’t try to avoid them, and are twice as inclined to make a purchase after hearing an ad. In fact, 29% of Internet radio listeners have purchased something they heard advertises, versus 14% of broadcast radio listeners.
The study comes to some very strong positive conclusions about both Internet radio and the future of audio, pointing out that we are in the middle of a major shift in the way that music is delivered. Concluding that the greatest opportunity for brands lies with Internet radio services such as Pandora and iHeartradio, the research emphatically concludes that a “continuously growing user base, a swell of compatible devices and a consumer that is both receptive and responsive to advertising makes Internet radio a compelling marketplace to reach consumers.”Now that sounds like a statement that Internet radio can take to the bank..
I’ve been away on vacation for the past week and a half or so – a vacation where I barely got online and didn’t check my email at all. After the first few days, it was surprisingly easy to do, and very relaxing. It turns out, last week was a big news week for Internet radio, with Apple giving the first preview of it’s nicknamed iradio product, and Pandora purchasing an FM station in Rapid City, South Dakota. I spent my first day back reading a lot and trying to get some perspective on both announcements.
iTunes Radio, it appears, will simply be Apple’s entry into the space, long awaited. After reading about it and talking to a few developers who have seen the interface, I guess it’s an Apple-esque, graphically interesting web radio interface that does the same things that Pandora does. Not a lot of innovation, but a well done product – possibly less than I would have expected from Apple, since I’m aware they have been actively working on this entry into the markeplace for at least a year and a half, when they contacted me.
Don’t get me wrong, I think there will be innovation with this product, and I’m hopeful that it will expand the marketplace for everyone. According to one thing that I read, Apple is planning to sell ads on its streaming radio platform using iAd, its mobile ad business. Consider that Apple knows about its users, which provides for effective targeting, and has a credit card on file for each one of them, which most of them are accustomed to using already to purchase songs and apps. That’s a system that could translate to expansive online revenues for lots of advertisers.
I don’t think Apple will mean a lot of trouble for Pandora, although certainly they will begin to share audience. Pandora’s got a large user base and a lot of happy customers. They may lose some share, but the number of people using Internet radio will continue to grow, and they’ll still gain listeners. Meanwhile, they’ll benefit from another major player in the marketplace who will help build advertiser investment. Look at it this way: it would appear that Apple’s game is to solve the conundrum of how to monetize the mobile audience, in particular the streaming audio mobile audience. I’d say that’s good news for the industry.
Jacobs Media has updated its annual Tech Survey, which is a study of the media habits of core radio users. It’s a study that has 9 years under its belt now, so it’s a great chance to take a look at trends.
In the big picture of how media stack up in terms of usage, there’s been a pretty big shift, with people using AM/FM an hour or more a day dropping below 90% into fourth place behind TV since the release of last year’s results. AM/FM fell 3% in a year, which is a shift that is hard to ignore. Meanwhile, usage of Internet radio weekly or more jumped 7% year to year to 45%. Last year’s survey results assigned 18% of Internet radio’s 38% to Pandora, but this year’s results don’t offer specifics on Pandora’s share.
One of the salient takeaways from this study is that listeners are connecting with radio across a more diverse set of technologies. Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs says it’s about “radio’s ability to uniquely connect with consumers on their preferred platform.” This survey of radio users is telling us loud and clear that they want to be able to access content across a diverse offering of media and devices.