Listeners vs. Users

Trade publication Inside Radio quotes Bonneville‘s Director of New Media, James Webb, saying radio needs to stop thinking of its cume as “listeners” and consider them “users.” He says, “Listeners are engaged only when the radio is on. Users connect with you in other ways.” This has tremendous implications for our industry, and extends our footprint beyond terrestrial radio to the world of multimedia applications (and revenue).**

Coincidentally, the Association for Downloadable Media today released their Podcast Consumer Revealed 2008 study, derived from the 2008 Internet & Multimedia Study conducted by Arbitron and Edison Media Research.

The audience for downloadable is not only growing, but also represents a very attractive target for advertising.

According to the data, 18% of Americans have downloaded/heard an audio podcast. Another 16% have watched a video podcast. Those numbers are up about 3% and growing, with 9% of Americans 12+ having listened to an audio podcast within the past month; that’s 23-million Americans who are affluent, spend lots of time/money online, and have become difficult to reach through intrusive advertising (commercials).

eMarketer takes it one step further by stating outright that podcasting “is about as long tail as it gets.” Their data projects US Podcast Advertising Spending for 2007-2012:

eMarketer projects $310-million to be spent advertising in 2009 and $435-million by 2012, just a small portion of total online ad spending.

Podcasting will remain a niche use of the Internet, especially compared to 60% of search engine users, which makes pricing difficult to gauge. However, new data from Podtrac and TNS should help the cause:

In March 2008, across multiple product categories, they found unaided brand awareness for podcast ads was 68% compared to 21% for streaming video and 10% for television.

Doug Keith, president of Future Research Consulting, says “The data suggest audiences are paying close attention to show content and the embedded ads within them which greatly increased ad effectiveness in the studies. The high unaided recall figures are no doubt the results of a less cluttered environment.” Velvet Beard, VP at Podtrac, adds “The studies showed a 73% increase in the likelihood to use or buy an advertised product. The studies showed that 69% of audience members have a more favorable view of in-show advertisers.

eMarketer article
eMarketer Podcast Advertising – Seeking Riches in Niches report

Of course, podcasting is just one way to convert “listeners” to “users” of our radio brands in addition to

  • streaming
  • rewards programs
  • database/email marketing
  • web content
  • viral content
  • blogs and forums
  • social networking
  • text messaging
  • interactive/user-generated content

… and many others to be addressed in future blog articles.

**Thanks to Mark Ramsey’s Hear2.0 blog for inspiration.

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