Infinite Dial 2016 – Study On Digital, Mobile Growth

By David Alpern

The annual Infinite Dial study was recently released. It examined the expanding proliferation of smartphones and digital Infinite Dialaudio services, such as listening to online radio and podcasts. The research found that half of the audience now listens to some sort of online radio each week, up from 44% last year. Here are some highlights of how content delivery is evolving:

  • 57% of Americans use online radio each month
  • Podcast listening is growing on a monthly basis (17% to 21%) and weekly (10% last year to 13% this year). Weekly podcast listeners listen to an average of five podcasts per week
  • In-home ownership of a radio receiver has dropped. 79% have a radio at home. Eight years ago it was 96% = nearly every home in America. Among 18-34-year-olds, radio ownership in the home is down from 94% to 68%
  • Pandora remains the best-known online audio brand with 82% awareness. Apple Music which invested heavily to relaunch a year ago is second (67%). iHeartRadio, the largest broadcaster in the country is close to Apple (65%). Spotify has strong brand presence (52%)
  • Music streaming among the 12-24 demo finds that 43% listened to Pandora within the past month and 30% listened to Spotify
  • Spotify gained as the “Audio Brand Used Most Often,” up from 10% to 14%. Pandora leads everyone with 48%
  • Broadcast radio is tied for the lead among all audio sources for keeping up-to-date with new music – ahead of YouTube. However, among 12-24s, broadcast radio falls to third (58%), behind YouTube (86%) and friends/family (74%)
  • Smartphone ownership continues to grow, reaching 76%, up five percentage points since last year. Among 12-24-year-olds, smartphone ownership rose to 93%. Even seniors are getting “smart” with more than half now using a smartphone – up 45 to 51%
  • On demand video-subscriptions are at 51% of the country. The largest is Netflix. 43% of all survey respondents subscribe to Netflix
  • Facebook remains the most-used social media platform (64%). Among 12-24s Snapchat (72%) and Instagram (66%) lead the social media pack

Media consumption is dramatically changing. Mobile is increasingly being utilized as a “first screen” after several years of having established itself as the “second screen” supplement to traditional HDTV set viewing.

Podcasts and on-demand video services are allowing for binge watching and listening, and their anticipated future growth will continue to impact and change the media landscape. Expect to see online radio continue to increase its audience reach and join smartphones and social media as broad mainstream activities.

Google steps up to podcasting…

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GoogleMThe Download on Podcasts: Google steps up to podcasting, but not enough

Posted on October 28, 2015 by Brad Hill

 

The announcement from Google that it would add podcasts to its Play Music interactive music service shines a light into the gloomy and under-competitive realm of podcast discovery in Android devices. But it’s a relatively dim ray of light compared to the bold discovery paths that Apple provides to its audio users.

Most podcast listening is mobile. Most podcast discovery, downloading, and streaming occurs via the podcast category in iTunes, which is carved out in the Podcasts app which appears on all iOS mobile desktops. Apple’s gigantic first-mover advantage with podcasts has widened its lead in the mobile era.

This column has complained before of Android’s gaping lack in this department. Android is, by far, the global leading mobile operating system, and offers no built-in acknowledgment or discovery of podcasts. Existing third-part apps like Pocket Casts and Podcast Addict provide solutions, but users must seek them out, download and install them — in other words, they are already podcast fans with some fluency in how discovery and acquisition work.

While the podcast category has grown dramatically, with 33% of the 12+ U.S. population having listened to a podcast at least once, and 10% listening weekly, according to Edison Research, consumption is dramatically skewed to Apple products.

Back to Google’s announcement, posted by Elias Roman, who headed Songza when it was acquired by Google, and now is Product Manager of Google Play Music. Adding podcasts to Google’s music subscription product is a smart move, roughly in parallel with Deezer’s acquisition of Stitcher, Spotify’s intent to add podcasts, and Rivet Radio’s recently announced build-out of podcast shows. Elias Roman’s unique selling point is that Google Play Music will leverage (Songza’s) content discovery algorithms to recommend podcasts based on user habits.

This is all good for Google Play Music subscribers, but is not the solution that the immense population of Android users needs. The competitive thrust is aimed at other music services, not at Apple. It is the Android operating system which needs a podcast solution, not a Google app within the operating system.

So, while we’re eager to see how Google Play Music’s podcast library develops (and happily, loading in a podcast is much easier for podcast owners compared to Apple’s daunting set of requirements), we’re doubling down on our memo to Google: Make a podcast portal, and bolt it into Android. Help bring podcasts into the mainstream.

Pandora gets exclusive streaming distribution for Serial’s 2nd season

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Pandora gets exclusive streaming distribution for Serial’s second season

Posted on November 2, 2015 by Brad Hill

Pandora announced today that it will be the “exclusive streaming partner” for the second season of hit podcast Serial. In 2016 the agreement will extend to This American Life, the public radio program which distributes its shows as on-demand podcasts, and which is the creator of Serial.

This initiative is a new programming dimension for Pandora, and a potential source of new audience for Serial. “Pandora reaches millions of people who never listen to public radio or download podcasts,” said Ira Glass, host of This American Life. “This’ll get our shows to them.”

Because long-form narrative podcasting is so different from the normal song library of Pandora tracks, the service will carve each Serial episode into five-minute bites. Pandora calls this “chapterized” content, and promises it will make it easier to listen in portions, and return to a previous leave-off point. The chapters will play continuously for those who want whole episodes.

The launch date for the second season of Serial is undisclosed in this announcement. Season One will likewise be poured into Pandora on November 24, for binge listening over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Serial will still be downloadable from iTunes and other podcast aggregators, while Pandora enjoys the exclusive pure-streaming rights.

Without question, the partnership has unique value for all stakeholders. Pandora jumps on the podcast train. Serial gets exposed to an audience of 78-million monthly users, some of whom have probably heard of Serial but have never figured out how listen to a podcast. And those users get the benefit of easy discovery and playback in an environment they know and love.

Interestingly, this agreement also gives Pandora a block of interactive content that can be accessed and heard on demand, unlike its entire non-interactive music library. Users just add the “Serial” station, and can listen to as much as they want. When users create station based on a music brand, the first track is usually that artist or brand, and then the Music Genome kicks in with a playlist of which the user has limited control. Spoken-word podcasting is free of music licensing restrictions, and can be thoroughly interactive and on-demand.

Infinite Dial Learnings

By David Alpern

Earlier this year we posted about the Infinite Dial study about audio consumption, with the conclusion that streaming is goiThe Infinite Dialng wide, YouTube is mainstream, and podcasting is growing. Below is an article by Brad Hill, published earlier this year, that details the study.

The 2015 edition of The Infinite Dial was unveiled in March 2015 by survey producers Edison Research and Triton Digital. In its 23rd edition, The Infinite Dial is one of the most significant and respected research projects in the streaming audio industry.

A major headline came when John Rosso of Triton said that 53% of American adults listen to online radio at least monthly — an estimated 143-million individuals. (“One of the most significant findings of this year’s study,” said Rosso.) Holding to demographic tendencies of previous Infinite Dial editions, uptake of streaming radio is weighted to youth. The 12-24 demographic shows 77% listening to online radio each month.

Weekly online radio listening continues its upward march in the 2015 results — 44% of Americans listen at least weekly. That is an estimated 119-million people. In the 2000 survey, two percent of Americans made the same claim. (There has not been a year-over-year decrease during that span.) Weekly listening also skews young, with 69% of the 12-24 group listening weekly.

How about time spent? Edison found that the average weekly time spent listening to online radio was 12 hours and 53 minutes — a slight drop from last year (13:19). but with a large year-over-year jump in audience size (from 36% of Americans to 44%), the overall time spent with online radio is much higher.

Where does the listening happen? Mobile dominates, and is growing — 73% use smartphones, increased from 66% last year. Computers are still in frequent use, but declining from 64% in 2014 to 61% this year.

The presentation provided deep dives into several research topics:

  • Brands:Pandora is the best-known brand in the Internet audio business, followed by YouTube. Pandora, iTunes Radio, and Spotify all enjoyed substantial listening growth from last year’s survey. YouTube is used for music by 63% of the total population, and 90% of the 12-24 cohort.
  • Discovery:The Infinite Dial tracks music-discovery methods. The top resource in this year’s data is the Friends/Family response (70%), followed closely by AM/FM Radio (69%). YouTube is next at 61%.
  • Podcasting:The podcasting segment of today’s presentation showed overall listening at 33% of the population, or approximately 89-million people. Podcast listeners are characterized by the data as voracious, listening to an average six shows per week, and 15% listening to 11 or more shows each week. Interestingly, the podcast audience skews affluent (52% of listeners are in $100k+ households), a data point that all ad-repping networks will probably include in their sales decks.
  • Smartphone ownership:Jason Calacanis told last year’s RAIN Summit West audience: “Mobile is the only thing that matters.” Edison tells us that 71% of 12+ Americans own a smartphone.
  • Cars listening:In the car, as other studies have shown, AM/FM is the most-used audio source (81%). CD players and MP3 players fare well in this survey, and online radio comes in at 21% — higher than the 17% listenership to satellite radio. In-car online radio listening is the fastest-growing audio source by far, leaping 50% between last year’s survey and this one (from 14% to 21%).

Key takeaways provided by Edison and Triton:

  • Online audio is now a fully mainstream activity for people under 55.
  • AM/FM Radio continues to dominate in-car, but is losing its music discovery leadership.
  • Pandora remains the dominant online audio brand, though Spotify has grown, especially on the young end.
  • YouTube as a music channel is as mainstream as all of online audio put together.
  • Online radio in the car is growing—more than doubled in two years.
  • The Smartphone continues to drive online audio, and most users don’t care about data consumption.
  • Podcasting is increasingly mainstream, and carving out a segment of highly attractive advertising targets.

The Infinite Dial survey was in the field in January and February, questioning a sample of 2,002 people on landline and cell phones.

Radio Investing in Podcasting

By David Alpern

With apologies to Samsung’s tag line, it looks like the “next big thing” may be Hubbardpodcasting. This week Hubbard Radio announced that it is taking a 30% stake in a Beverly Hills based podcast network.

Legacy radio broadcasters are anxious to snap up the next evolution in audio media. Sources estimated Hubbard’s investment at $10 million. Just last month E.W. Scripps bought Hollywood podcasting network Midroll Media.

PodcastOne is an advertising network for more than 200 podcasts, which deliver 400 online casino million impressions per month. Some of its celebrity podcasts are hosted by Shaquille O’Neal, Adam Carolla and Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi as well as well-known public radio programs “Freakonomics” and “Radiolab.”

Podcast audiences at this moment remain relatively small but are registering incremental annual growth. 17% of Americans listened to podcasts in January 2015, up two points year over year according to the Share of Ear study published by Edison Research in February, and reviewed previously here on the Media Partners Worldwide blog.

Traditional radio broadcast companies are investing with the belief that the podcast industry is on the verge of explosive growth and point to the platform”s potential by citing the success of NPR’s mega-hit episodic podcast “Serial” that re-examined a young man’s murder conviction and has been downloaded over 80 million times since it debuted in 2014.

Podcast Chatter – RAIN Summit at NAB Las Vegas

Here are some key points made about in-car media trends and podcasts at this week’s RAIN Summit West at the NAB 2015 in Las Vegas (source: LARadio.com):

  • In-Car listening Survey Results: For those driving cars model years 2009 or older – 67% responded that they listen to AM/FM radio the most. The numbers are lower for people who drive cars that are 2010 and newer – only 47% said they listen primarily to AM/FM since newer cars typically have an adapter to plug in wireless devices. (Larry Rosin, Edison Research)
  • Norm Pattiz of Podcast One labeled the current era ‘the golden age of podcasting’ and likens the industry to the early days of traditional radio when programmers were still trying to figure out what kind of content would draw listeners
  • Pattiz likened podcasting to using a DVR to record TV shows. Once you start using it, you won’t go back to ‘traditional’ media consumption. He also said he’s seeing more big brands (such as Geico, Burger King) entering the podcast advertising market
  • Pattiz mentioned several revenue streams for podcasting including  advertising, subscriptions, product placement, merchandising and personality endorsements
  • Tom Leykis on the podcast panel said his podcast was less like traditional talk radio and more of a social network, where he could invite fans to events. Leykis said making money in podcasting was all about engaging the ‘true fans,’ the P-1s were his bread and butter
  • Leykis gave props to NPR for being ahead of commercial radio in rolling out a rich library of podcasts, offering narrowed down well produced content
  • Panelists suggested chopping long form talk radio shows into smaller slices, offering digital listeners interviews and shorter segments, rather than posting the entire show in a single podcast. (Although Leykis doubted that many commercial stations would pay someone $40k a year to make this happen)
  • In his ‘state of the industry’ address at the end of the day, RAIN Summit West founder Kurt Hanson said, except for Pandora, the online radio listening audience will remain flat for the next several years. Hanson likened today’s Internet broadcasting to the ‘great divide’ of days past.  Hanson said that’s when the FCC made broadcasters do more on their FM signals than simulcast their AM stations. Hanson says FM radio took off only when listeners could hear something that they weren’t already getting on AM
  • DRONES are big this year – both on the show floor – and in NAB sessions, with panels talking about the future of using drones for newsgathering, and the legal aspects of using them now and in the future

Piolín: Hispanic Podcasting Breakthrough Talent?

Media Partners Worldwide’s comical self-avowed podcast junkie, Clay Gibson observed about a story of great potential significance making news this week: Eddie “Piolín” Sotelo, one of the most popular morning talents in America and host of the prior top-rated morning show radio program in Los Angeles, signed to do a daily podcast show with PodcastOne.

While this is likely not quite the kind of turning point that the hiring of Howard Stern was for Sirius Satellite Radio, it has the possibility to greatly raise the profile of podcasting among  Hispanics. Until now, podcasting is much better known among Whites and African-Americans than among the Hispanic population. The Infinite Dial 2015 report stated that awareness of podcasting is being significantly held back by the low number among Hispanics. And while Hispanics are slightly less likely to be online or to have smartphones, this does not explain nearly all of the difference in the graph above.  The better explanation is a lack of compelling programming, especially in Spanish.  The hiring of a Spanish Radio superstar might change things.

Podcast Popularity Leaps

Podcast listening is a small sliver of the entire audio universe (radio, streaming, MP3, SiriusXM, etc.) but of those who listen to podcasts, new research has found that they listen to A LOT of podcasts. The Fall 2014 Share of Ear℠ study by Edison Research finds that daily listeners of podcasts listen to more podcast audio than any other form of audio, as the graph here illustrates.

Share of Ear 2014

Those who listen to podcasts spend more audio time with podcasts than any other audio media. A year ago AM/FM radio listening still predominated among this audience, but now podcasts are tops with them. The total share of podcast listening among all Americans increased by 18% over the course of one year, which is a significant jump. Podcast listeners spend an average of 6 hours and 8 minutes each day listening to any form of audio. The average American spends just over 4 hours per day listening to audio. What this means is that while some of the shift in podcast listening has come from other forms of media (in particular, AM/FM Radio,) much of it is simply new additive consumption of audio content.

When tallying the total hours devoted to podcasting, and projecting it across the U.S. population, it shows that at full adoption Americans would be listening to approximately 21 million hours of podcast audio each day – which is a very bullish assessment about podcasting’s future health and its growing place in the market for audio AND advertising.