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Broadcast radio trumps other streamed audio sources, web-based listening surge

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A joint national study conducted by a Texas mass media company and a New York research analytics firm revealed that broadcast radio still tops the list among audio sources in terms of consumers’ streaming preference.

The study by MediaVest and Clear Channel Media + Entertainment examined the listening habits of thousands of US audio consumers.

It revealed that audio listeners prefer broadcast radio to get the latest news, traffic and weather updates, to “engage” with radio personalities, and to discover new music.

The study said that audio consumers listen to audio from broadcast or satellite radio most in their cars during the day.

It also stated that access to audio is highest between 3pm and 7pm.

"Consumers seamlessly flow between different media choices and indeed different forms of audio. Broadcast remains dominant while other listening platforms address specific needs," Radha Subramanyam, executive vice president of Insights Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, said in a news release revealing the study’s findings.

"By constantly tuning into audience feedback, we can continue to evolve the listening experience and optimize advertising for different platforms," she added.

Another important finding of the study revealed that consumers stream online AM/FM radio or custom playlists more from home.

Additionally, consumers tune in to custom playlists and custom stations to “control” or personalize their listening experience.

This element of “control” is pivotal in driving a host of audio listeners to shift to online audio streaming platforms, which are accessible not only through computers, but also through mobile technologies like cell phones and tablet PCs.

Media companies are not to be left behind as well with many of them establishing branded channels on audio streaming platforms such as Audioboo (Audioboom Group PLC – BOOM.L). Audioboo, for instance, allows media companies to upload soundbytes and set up channels on its platform for 24/7 broadcasts.

CBS, BBC, Sky Sports and Channel 4 are just some of the media corporations on Audioboo, whose audience comprise of 14 million listeners worldwide per month.

An independent research by The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism in 2013 noted that web-based listening is on a steady growth, compared with terrestrial radio which has plateaued for over a decade.

Citing research from Arbitron, the research noted that 4 out of 10 people (39 percent) listen to online audio per month, while 3 out of 10 people (29 percent) tune in online for digital audio at least once on a weekly basis in 2012.

The research went on noting that around 17 percent of mobile phone users stream online radio from their phones through their car stereos, based on data from Arbitron.

Online and mobile radio revenues are projected to soar to $1.37 M by 2015 and $1.66 M by 2016, according to a Veronis Suhler Stevenson Communication Industry Forecast, cited by the same Pew Research Center report.

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