As you have probably heard, the latest edition of The Infinite Dial was released last week. The research project is a joint effort by Edison Research and Triton Digital. Since 1998, Edison and various partners have annually produced annual The Infinite Dial reports. The Infinite Dial is longest-running survey of consumer usage of media on all platforms and devices.
The Infinite Dial is an important mirror of the evolving media preferences because it shows trends over time. The Infinite Dial is filled with fascinating facts and perspective. I urge you to download the entire report and/or view the excellent summay video. Both are at [link].
Today we will take a look at what I believe are results of particular interest to noncommercial media folks. Since a number of readers are involved in radio and other audio platforms we will highlight the threats and opportunities shown in The Infinite Dial.
DAILY MEDIA CONSUMPTION PER CONTINUES TO GROW
Total media consumption has grown from 7 hours, 22 minutes per day in 2001 to 8 hours, 47 minutes per day in 2016. Think about it, are there any other human activities that take up so much time? I seldom get 8 hours, 47 minutes sleep.
Takeaway for noncom folks: This is the field where the battle is fought. It is good news that daily media consumption is up because it lifts all media. However, there are only 24 hours in a day and use of various media compete for finite periods of time. A new listening habit can replace an older habit.
SMARTPHONES ARE THE FASTEST GROWING MEDIA PLATFORM
Smartphone ownership and usage continue to grow in all demographics. Even Boomers are moving to mobile devices. Ownership and use of Smartphones for people Age 55+ has more than doubled since 2013. For younger folks, mobile isn’t a choice, it is a way of life.
Takeaway for noncom folks: This is where the content-delivery action is now and for the known future. Smartphones are a logical place to hear radio programming. Make certain folks know how and where to find you. Make it easy for Boomers to adapt.
RADIO USAGE REMAINS STRONG, PARTICULARLY IN VEHICLES
FM/AM radio is still the king of the car. Broadcast radio usage in vehicles even increased slightly from 2015 to 2016.
Takeaway for noncom folks: If you are in noncommercial radio, folks in vehicles are your best customers. Super-serve them.
BROADCAST RADIO IS LOOSING GROUND IN HOMES BECAUSE OF FEWER RADIOS
This trend surprised me even though I have seen it in action. Recently my mom was in hospice care. She asked me to get her a transistor radio so she could listen classical music from Minnesota Public Radio. I found there were almost NO stand-alone radios for sale at Target, Wal-Mart and every other big box store I tried.
Takeaway for noncom folks: Fewer radios mean less radio listening at home making radio in vehicles even more important. Here is suggestion for a pledge-drive premium: A nice, simple FM/AM radio.
ONLINE RADIO/AUDIO LISTENING CONTINUES TO GROW
Use of online platforms to access radio/audio programming, either broadcast streaming or online-only providers such as Pandora, continues to rise in all demos. The majority of 12-54s are regular online radio listeners—and that listening is becoming more and more habitual.
Takeaway for noncom folks: The fidelity of online streaming audio varies from source to source. It isn’t uncommon to hear online channels sound like they are coming from the Space Shuttle. Exceed listener’s expectations for audio quality.
PODCASTS HAVE BECOME PART OF THE MEDIA MAINSTREAM
Nearly 100 million Americans have ever listened to a podcast, a fast growing segment of the population. According to The Infinite Dial there are now an estimated 35,000,000 weekly podcast listeners – 13% of population. Folks who listen to podcasts frequently hear an average of five podcasts per week.
Takeaway for noncom folks: If you are at a radio station, do your podcasts promote and enhance your brand? To often station distributed podcasts don’t follow broadcast promotion basics. Make certain all podcasts mention the station at least every 10 minutes and forward promote other programming on the station.
FM/AM RADIO REMAINS A MAJOR SOURCE OF “MUSIC DISCOVERY”
This is good news for noncom Triple A folks. However online and mobile platforms are reaching a growing share of “Music Discovery” listeners.
Takeaway for noncom folks: Use social media to enhance the “Music Discovery” halo. How about podcasts that are designed involve listeners who want to participate in the "discovery." Strategically use digital media to involve listeners in the station.