Digital Radio Platforms More Popular, 33MM Listen to Online Radio Weekly

April 10, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Media & Entertainment | Radio | Youth & Gen X

Usage and ownership of various digital audio platforms, including online radio, iPod/MP3 players, and podcasting, continue to increase, according to (pdf) The Infinite Dial 2008: Radio’s Digital Platforms, the latest study by Arbitron and Edison Media Research.

The internet is fast gaining on radio as the medium to learn about new music, the study found:

  • In 2008, radio is mentioned as the medium “you turn to first to learn about new music” by about half of consumers (49%), with internet at 25%.
  • In 2002, radio was mentioned by nearly two-thirds of consumers (63%) and only 9% mentioned internet.

Among other key findings of the study:

  • The weekly online radio audience increased in the past year to an estimated 33 million:
    • 13% of the US population age 12 and older have listened to online radio in the past week; up from 11% (approximately 29 million) in 2007.
    • On a weekly basis, online radio reaches more than one in seven 25-54-year olds (15%).


  • AM/FM radio continues to have a big impact on people’s lives. More than one in five (21%) consumers said radio is the audio platform/device that has the biggest impact on people’s lives, second only to mobile phones (33%):


  • iPod/Portable MP3 player ownership continues dramatic growth:
    • Nearly four in ten (37%) own an iPod or other brand of portable MP3 player, up from 30% in 2007 and more than two-and-a-half times the proportion in 2005 (14%).
    • Nearly three-quarters (73%) of those ages 12-17 own a digital audio player.


  • Audio podcasting usage continues to increase alongside the proliferation of iPod/MP3 player ownership:
    • 18% have ever listened to an audio podcast; up from 13% in 2007.
    • 9% have listened to an audio podcast in the past month (an estimated 23 million).
  • Satellite radio awareness remains mostly flat:
    • For the third straight year, awareness of XM and Sirius hovers around 60%.
    • Nearly one in six nonsubscribers are very/somewhat likely to sign up for satellite radio in next year.


  • Those who regularly listen to online radio are much more likely to participate in social networks: 41% of weekly online radio listeners report having an online social networking profile (compared with 24% of the total 12+ population); more than one-third (37%) visit social networking sites nearly once per day or more.

“Traditional radio and internet-only radio must realize that they are now part of an even broader world of online information and entertainment options and respond accordingly,” said Pierre Bouvard, president, sales and marketing, Arbitron Inc. “Advertisers who want to go where the trends are pointing need to be more involved with the new forms of audio media as they continue to expand.”

“Users continue to prove that they want to consume radio on their terms,” said Tom Webster, vice-president, Edison Media Research. “On-demand media and a wealth of portable devices are creating listening occasions that were previously either unavailable or under-utilized, which is increasing the overall demand for audio content.”

About the study (pdf): A total of 1,857 people were interviewed to investigate Americans’ use of various forms of traditional, online and satellite media. From January 18 to February 15, 2008, telephone interviews were conducted with respondents age 12 and older chosen at random from a national sample of Arbitron’s Fall 2007 survey diarykeepers. In certain geographic areas (representing 8% of the national population), a sample of Arbitron diarykeepers was not available for the survey; a supplemental sample was interviewed through random-digit dialing.

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