Southfield, MI May 1, 2012 - The latest Jacobs Media study of core radio listeners shows that while smartphones, tablets and social media continue to be embraced, the elements that often matter to audiences transcend gadgets and platforms. The Techsurvey8 explores the format landscape for media usage and digital applications. The media habits of 12 different format core audiences are examined.
According to Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs, "The data from Techsurvey8 strongly suggest that focusing on connecting emotionally and meaningfully with listeners is radio's best avenue toward remaining relevant and vibrant in the face of new digital competition."
While the study covers the entire spectrum of media, digital, and social activities, Jacobs notes several key findings emerge from Techsurvey8:
Why AM/FM radio still matters: While "favorite songs" and local personalities are the highest-ranking elements, there are four emotional triggers that listeners value:
1. Having a radio on while they work
2. Helping them get in a better mood
3. Providing a feeling of companionship
4. Offering an escape from the pressures of everyday life
Pandora is a (pure) player: Far and away, Pandora is the most popular pure-play Internet option, as nearly half (45 percent) of streamies listen to some extent, easily besting competitors like iHeartRadio (19 percent), Spotify (7 percent), TuneIn Radio (7 percent), and Slacker Radio (5 percent). Pandora's mobile app is the most popular among radio-centric applications, followed distantly by iHeartRadio's app and the individual apps that stations commission.
However, Pandora users are split as to whether the Internet pure play should be considered "radio" - 43 percent "yes" and 49 percent "no." Fans of alternative, contemporary Christian, country, CHR and variety hits are more apt to think of Pandora as "radio."
Protecting the in-car listening franchise: The car is becoming a major battleground for radio. More than half of all respondents say that most of their radio listening takes place in cars. And nearly half (48 percent) say they're able to connect a smartphone or MP3 player in their main vehicle. One in ten (9 percent) now drives a car equipped with an entertainment/information system like Ford's Sync, especially fans of news/talk and sports/talk.
It's all about "First Occasions": Nearly six in ten of these core radio listeners (57 percent) start their day with another medium or gadget - rather than turn on a radio at home or in the car. Television is a close second to turning on a radio at home. The 18-34s are more likely to engage with email or Facebook for this all-important "First Occasion" of the day.
Smartphones, apps and tablets coming on strong: More than half (52 percent) now own a smartphone, and more than nine in ten download apps (93 percent). Partisans of alternative, CHR, rock, and sports/talk stations have a greater propensity to own a smartphone.
Tablets are becoming a significant part of the digital story. One-fourth say they own one (24 percent), and iPad has a big lead over all other competitors. To underscore how tablets appeal to many different types of consumers, devotees of hot AC and news/talk radio stations are most likely to own a tablet.
The social media tidal wave: Eight of ten of these core radio listeners are on Facebook. CHR, alternative and country fans are most apt to be daily Facebook users.
More than one-fifth use Twitter, and sports/talk emerges as the format where Twitter rules. By far, sports-centric listeners are most likely to follow a sports station or personality on Twitter.
Techsurvey8 results were gathered online from Jan. 31 - Feb. 15, 2012. Overall, 170 broadcast stations across the U.S. and Canada took part, contributing 57,358 total respondents.