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From Radio 2020The iPod Generation tunes in

Move over, TV, step aside newspapers, and look out, Internet — radio has you all beat!

Even more astounding is the fact that both Nielsen and Arbitron agree on that, at least according to studies release by both companies this week. Arbitron released their study at the opening of this year’s National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show, starting the event off on a high note.

Radio Ink reports:

Arbitron released its annual Radio Today study at the NAB Radio Show today, and says the study confirmed that more than 90 percent of consumers 12 and older listen to the radio every week — greater penetration than TV, magazines, newspapers, or the Internet.

Now, for those who are somewhat skeptical of Arbitron findings (see the Personal People Meter (PPM) controversies), Nielsen has produced similar findings. Those findings show a huge and underestimated rate of listenership amongst the “iPod generation.”

Nielsen reports that 18- to 34-year-olds in the 51 markets monitored listen to the radio 21.5 hours each week. That’s in line with all people age 12 and older, the company said. It’s a lovely thing to report in their first set of findings since entering the radio metrics arena. The numbers are based on a survey performed last March and April among 119,000 consumers representing a population of 14 million.

FMQB, a radio industry news website, brings us the industry response to the numbers presented:

“By measuring the listening habits of 98 percent of the population instead of the 65 percent that we have been getting, Nielsen has dispelled many of the harmful untruths that have plagued our medium among the ad buying community,” stated Cumulus Radio COO Lew Dickey. “Most notable is the notion that radio has lost its hipness and relevance among younger audiences. Nielsen’s data proves that this is clearly not the case and it will clearly lead to a stronger appreciation of radio over time.”

In an era when naysayers continue to denigrate the medium, radio once more proves that it not only retains relevance but also popularity. It just goes to prove what I’ve said from the start: the radio industry suffers a perception problem, not a viability problem.

So why should we consider these stats to be accurate, especially in light of the unexpected jump in percentages? Up until now, radio surveys have skipped over cell phone-only homes. This effectively removes the younger, more Internet and technology oriented consumers out of the calculations. In Nielsen’s survey, they make up 15% of the total sampling. A 15% that tunes in to radio even more than the 18 – 34 year old demographic at 23 hours per week.

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