Perspectives, News & Opinions From The Researchers At Edison

New Research on Facebook “Quitters”

Entry by Tom Webster | Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 | Permalink | 0 Comments;

New research on Facebook indicates that 4% of Americans 12+, and 5% of teens, indicate that they once had profiles on Facebook, but now no longer have those profiles. Adding those numbers into the percentage of the population who currently maintain those profiles, we see that 62% of the total population has ever had a Facebook account, and 84% of teens have ever had a profile on the popular social networking service. More on this stat can be found here, and an in-depth look at teen usage of Facebook can be found in this article on Convince and Convert.

Facebook Quitters

These data points were taken from The Infinite Dial 2014, from Edison Research and Triton Digital. The full study is available here, or on Slideshare.

How the Survey was Conducted:  A total of 2,023 persons were interviewed to investigate Americans’ use of digital platforms and new media.  From January 13 to February 12, 2014, telephone interviews were conducted with respondents age 12 and older who were selected via Random Digit Dial (RDD) sampling. The study includes a total of 808 cell phone interviews.

What Nationalization Will Mean to American Radio

Entry by Larry Rosin | Thursday, March 13th, 2014 | Permalink | 27 Comments;

Over the course of the last year, the programming strategies for American commercial radio’s ‘big boys’ – Clear Channel and Cumulus – have come increasingly into focus. Whether they believe it is the right thing to do for ratings, or for cost containment, or both, the two “Big C’s” are rapidly nationalizing the programming across their groups.

As I live in the New York City area, I’ve been able to witness perhaps the most public manifestation to date from up close. Nash-FM signed on here a little over a year ago with virtually no pretense of being a New York station. From day one it was billed as “America’s Country Station,” and if not for the top of the hour ID and occasional traffic reports one would have no idea at all it was ‘local radio.’ More recently, they signed on “America’s Morning Show,” which is also piped in from Nashville. Cumulus’s public statements have made it clear that Country is just the first of the ‘verticals’ they plan to nationalize.

Meanwhile, Clear Channel has long pursued a strategy of eliminating local talent in its smaller markets via voice tracking and their Orwellian-named “Premium Choice” networks. More recently, moves by Clear Channel leadership seem to be bringing their nationalization strategy into greater focus. Having successfully created a national brand around iHeart Radio, it seems inevitable that they will be replacing their local branding with something built around that name.

The history of American radio branding eliminates the nationalization by Clear Channel or anyone of the “Kiss” or “KIIS” brand. Neither can Z100 be leveraged into a national “Z” brand, nor “Power” nor any of the usual suspects. Cumulus invented its own brand with “Nash;” and you can place your bets on Clear Channel pushing all-in on iHeart. Z100 and KIIS-LA and the ‘big’ Clear Channel Top 40 in every market will eventually lift the iHeart branding above the station brand. Soon Elvis Duran will likely do mornings on every single station and Ryan Seacrest will be on middays – on a national iHeart Radio Hits channel. Similarly, Bobby Bones will anchor mornings on all “iHeart Radio Country” outlets. And repeat for all other formats.

In the process, naturally, dozens if not hundreds of local air personalities will be shoved aside, as well as any local producers.

Is this a bad thing? Well, I’ll say: “Not entirely.” But…mostly.

Certainly, I went on record at Country Radio Seminar a few weeks ago against both Nationalization and Voice-Tracking, calling them a ‘disaster’ for the radio industry. That’s because I’ve been doing research on the American radio industry, but mostly on the consumers of radio for over a quarter century now, and I feel like I have a pretty good sense for what the ‘brand’ of radio is for people. And that brand is ‘local.’

In the last year Edison Research has been hired to perform several studies on just the question of how to keep younger consumers listening to FM radio. We pretty much hear the same things over and over – they do and will continue to go to radio for unique compelling content – and to be in-the-know on what is happening locally. Young listeners talk to us about the chance to actually meet the personality they hear on the radio and the announcements of local events or concerts. They understand – their local radio stations are providing them with something that Pandora and Spotify don’t.

So the question is – will the nationalized radio content be so great, so amazing, so compelling, that the consumers of tomorrow will stay loyal to FM?

That’s really the key. Because when radio is great it should find itself nationalized. Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh were both once local personalities – and they never could have been held in radio had they not been able to nationalize. Radio talents such as these deserve to have fans across the country. These two guys in particular were such major talents that they pretty much got great ratings everywhere they were aired.

But that’s not necessarily what’s happening today. Politeness keeps me from commenting on specific shows, but some of the national options today are barely an improvement or in some cases no upgrade at all from what it is replacing locally.

Nationalization clearly allows radio’s two biggest platform-owners to demonstrate their influence. Clear Channel’s concerts and television specials (both branded around iHeart) and Cumulus’s venture into a “Nash Magazine” would be much harder to execute without national branding. I get that.

But it is hard to deny that a significant part of what makes radio stand out in the media landscape is lost through this process. Nationalized radio stations become USA Today – with that one lame little paragraph of ‘news from your state,’ as opposed to your local paper. There are already TONS of national media options.

If other owners are willing and able to capitalize on it, the decision to nationalize could be a boon to the ‘rest of the industry’ – basically everyone but Cumulus and Clear Channel, because ‘local’ will no longer be a basic price of entry to the business but a clear point of differentiation. I think we can expect the stations that do have ‘live and local DJs’ to find that emphasizing this point will resonate as never before. We may readily see that ‘localness’ will supplant music images as the single most vital aspect of stations competing with the national programs. In this sense the ‘zag’ to the big boys’ strategy could possibly lead to more ‘net localness’ on radio than before.

My guess is that the Cumulus and Clear Channel vision for radio’s future is fully nationalized stations whose only remaining local elements are traffic reports (because they can sell these) and weather (natch). The model is not NBC – where at least one gets local news injected through the day to create local branding – like my local “News 4 New York.” The model is, of course, MTV – a national channel with no local elements that, they hope, exerts enough coast-to-coast influence to assemble the hoped-for ‘leverage’ and ‘scalability.’

And maybe this model will work. But if it doesn’t, then everyone will be agreeing with my use of the word ‘disaster.’ Because if it fails, the re-establishment of ‘local’ on all these stations – and hiring all the local people back – seems inconceivable.

Smartphone Owners Index Higher For Frequent Social Media Usage

Entry by Tom Webster | Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 | Permalink | 0 Comments;

While 28% of Americans 12+ say they check their social networking sites and services “several times per day,” that number rises to 39% of U.S. Smartphone users.

Smartphone Social Usage

These data points were taken from The Infinite Dial 2014, from Edison Research and Triton Digital. The full study is available here, or on Slideshare.

How the Survey was Conducted:  A total of 2,023 persons were interviewed to investigate Americans’ use of digital platforms and new media.  From January 13 to February 12, 2014, telephone interviews were conducted with respondents age 12 and older who were selected via Random Digit Dial (RDD) sampling. The study includes a total of 808 cell phone interviews.

The Infinite Dial: Sports Talk Edition

Entry by Tom Webster | Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 | Permalink | 0 Comments;

On the heels of our recent comprehensive study of digital media usage, The Infinite Dial, we were asked to put together a look at Sports Talk radio listeners for the Radio Ink Sports Radio Conference, held March 11, 2014 in San Diego. Edison President Larry Rosin presented a look at how Sports listeners are using the Infinite Dial, and for attendees (and other interested parties), we are pleased to share the results. Click here to download a PDF, or review the slides below:

These data points were taken from The Infinite Dial 2014, from Edison Research and Triton Digital. The full study is available here, or on Slideshare.

How the Survey was Conducted:  A total of 2,023 persons were interviewed to investigate Americans’ use of digital platforms and new media.  From January 13 to February 12, 2014, telephone interviews were conducted with respondents age 12 and older who were selected via Random Digit Dial (RDD) sampling. The study includes a total of 808 cell phone interviews.

The Last Full Measure of Research Devotion

Entry by Larry Rosin | Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 | Permalink | 1 Comment;

LoomShedRearView

At our internal meetings at Edison Research, we regularly find ourselves letting loose with the same sarcastic comment: “Why do we bother doing research right when journalists seemingly cover anything that calls itself a survey the same way?”

The answer is, of course, that we only know one way to do research, and we are not willing to cut corners, employ sketchy samples, and most especially, attempt to make broad conclusions about unreliable numbers just to get published. We have tried, with mixed success, to educate reporters to adhere to higher journalistic standards when it comes to research releases (and here are 20 great questions you should ask whenever you report data.) But even if they don’t, we are still going to publish our data only when we know it was sampled, asked and analyzed correctly, and that it is reported precisely.

If you see public data from an Edison study, you can be confident it was performed to the highest technical research standards.

Which brings us to the 2014 Infinite Dial study we recently released. As you can see if you download the survey graphs, the very first thing you find is a methodology statement. When you look at research, this is the first thing you should consider – just how was this research performed?

Let’s walk through our one-page statement and consider what it is trying to tell you:

· The study was ‘national’ in scope – that is – every household in America with either a landline or cell phone was eligible to participate.

· We collected data via telephone. Now some people might consider this outdated, but telephone data collection remains the ‘gold standard’ for projecting the outcome of a survey to the national population. As our study shows, there is still a sizeable portion of the population without Internet access at home. Amazingly – we see studies published about Internet usage – collected over the Internet – that don’t even consider the bias baked into that construct.

· To achieve our sample, we employed random digit dialing, to both landlines and cell phones, so as to reach listed and unlisted numbers, and cell-phone-only households. Numbers were called up to six times each.

· We interviewed in both English and Spanish. One cannot accurately reflect the American population without offering Spanish interviews.

· Once we reached a household, we randomized the respondent within the household to eliminate any bias created by who answered the phone.

· Upon completing our interviews, we weighted the data to known US Census figures for age, sex, and ethnicity. This is a standard research practice that is required to reflect the population.

· We plainly named the sponsor of the survey – in this case Triton Digital.

The sample size for the Infinite Dial survey was 2,023. This is a more-than-adequate number to project the total findings to the US Population. (Most pre-election national polls, which often are astonishingly accurate, have a sample size of around 1,000.) We employ this larger sample size in order to allow us to break the data down into subgroups and maintain sufficient sample sizes for projection.

Those who are not familiar with polling techniques will sometimes look at a sample size of 1,000, or even our 2,023, and think it ‘small.’ They are used to hearing about the millions of votes on American Idol or seeing huge numbers from polls posted on Web sites, and they fall into the trap of thinking that one needs these gigantic numbers to reflect a population.

In point of fact it is not the size of the survey; it is the quality of the sample that matters in projecting a finding to a population. Sometimes people look at polls with enormous sample sizes simply ‘must be right’. In fact, many Internet-based polls are wildly biased in the construction of their samples, especially if anyone can respond. These are called ‘convenience samples’ and they should be considered with significant skepticism.

To wit, one favorite example. In 1999 Time Magazine opened up the question of who should be their ‘Person of the Century’ to a poll on their website. They emailed their subscribers and touted the poll in the magazine. The overwhelming winner was Mustafa Kemal Ataturk – founder of modern Turkey. Huh? Not Winston Churchill, not Albert Einstein, not Franklin Roosevelt…but Mustafa Kemal Ataturk? By a mile? And the ‘sample size’ was in the millions. How could it be wrong?

It turns out, of course, that the people of Turkey found out about this poll and decided to ensure that their 20th Century hero won the poll. Time was forced to rescind its ‘handing the question to the people’ promise. There are many similar examples.

But the point is – for Internet data collection the sample frame is crucial. (And as an aside, these will often reference their ‘samples’ – but in fact likely haven’t sampled at all). To project data to a population you need to have taken the kinds of steps we take in Infinite Dial.

But there is sometimes another end of the spectrum – sample sizes too small. We often see researchers attempt to make broad conclusions based on vastly too-small numbers. You, as a research consumer, need to demand to know the sizes from any report.

And even after we do everything described to collect and produce all our information, there is the process of analyzing and reporting. Any survey yields an uncountable number of ways of looking at the data. There are, of course, subjective judgments involved in determining which to emphasize. With Infinite Dial, as with all our public releases, we attempt to be transparent and honest. We think we are fair in our choices, but we know that no two entities would come to the same conclusions.

In total, thousands of Edison Research staff hours go into making the Infinite Dial, like all our public releases, as high-quality as it can possibly be. While the numbers in our reports are estimates, we believe you, as a consumer of our research, can be confident that these estimates are derived by using the highest-quality research techniques.

Online Radio Habits for Two Key Demographics: 18-34 and 18-49

Entry by Tom Webster | Monday, March 10th, 2014 | Permalink | 0 Comments;

We’ve had a number of requests to provide some of the data on Internet Audio listening from our recent Infinite Dial study for two key demographic groups relevant to media buyers, agencies, and others: 18-34 and 18-49. So, our crack team did just exactly that, and you can download them here or view the slides below.

These data points were taken from The Infinite Dial 2014, from Edison Research and Triton Digital. The full study is available here, or on Slideshare.

How the Survey was Conducted:  A total of 2,023 persons were interviewed to investigate Americans’ use of digital platforms and new media.  From January 13 to February 12, 2014, telephone interviews were conducted with respondents age 12 and older who were selected via Random Digit Dial (RDD) sampling. The study includes a total of 808 cell phone interviews.

Google+ Continues to Grow: 17% of Americans 12+ Have a Google+ Profile

Entry by Tom Webster | Thursday, March 6th, 2014 | Permalink | 0 Comments;

Google+ is familiar to 56% of Americans 12+, up from 52% in 2013. Today 17% of Americans 12+ have a profile on Google+, a 42% increase over 2013.

Google+ Tracking 2014.jpg

This datapoint was taken from The Infinite Dial 2014, from Edison Research and Triton Digital. The full study is available here, or on Slideshare.

How the Survey was Conducted:  A total of 2,023 persons were interviewed to investigate Americans’ use of digital platforms and new media.  From January 13 to February 12, 2014, telephone interviews were conducted with respondents age 12 and older who were selected via Random Digit Dial (RDD) sampling. The study includes a total of 808 cell phone interviews.

The Infinite Dial 2014

Entry by Tom Webster | Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 | Permalink | 6 Comments;

The Infinite Dial 2014, the latest in this long-running series of studies on consumer adoption of digital media, was released today (see below for download information.) This new national survey from Edison Research and Triton Digital found that the weekly audience for all forms of online radio* is now 36% of all Americans age 12 and older, or 94 million nationally.

The study, released today, is the 22nd in a series of studies dating back to 1998. Among the many other findings:

• More than six in ten (61%) now own a smartphone; that number increases to approximately eight in ten age 18-34.

• Internet-only audio services continue to grow, led by Pandora — now consumed by 31% monthly. iTunes Radio debuts in The Infinite Dial with 8% monthly usage.

• Growth in the adoption of the social media platforms Facebook and Twitter has slowed this year, compared with previous editions of The Infinite Dial. Facebook usage is flat compared to 2013, at 58%, while Twitter grew slightly from 15% to 16% year-over-year.

• Podcasting is on the rise, as weekly audio podcast consumption grew 25% year-over-year, from 12% in 2013 to 15% in 2014.

• In-car usage of online radio and other forms of digital audio continues to grow. In 2014, 26% of mobile phone users have connected devices to a vehicle, either physically or via Bluetooth, up from 21% in 2013.

• Snapchat is now one of the leading social networking services; 53% of mobile phone users are familiar with Snapchat, while 13% of Americans 12+ — and 46% of 12-24 year-olds — use the image sharing service.

“The continued penetration of smartphones in America is changing behavior significantly,” noted Tom Webster, Vice President of Strategy and Marketing, Edison Research. “We are now seeing activities that were dominated by desktop usage in 2013, flip dramatically to become mobile behaviors. For millions of Americans, the smartphone has become ‘the first screen.’”

“The Internet of Things means audio in everything internet,” said Mike Agovino, COO, Triton Digital. “Scaling connectivity across a plethora of devices is enabling tremendous growth in online radio consumption. Listening levels have reached significant proportions across all demographic groups, and this year’s Infinite Dial study illustrates a definitive upward trajectory.”

Download The Infinite Dial 2014 from Edison Research and Triton Digital here.

 

The Infinite Dial 2014 from Tom Webster on Vimeo.

How the Study was Conducted

A total of 2,023 persons were interviewed to explore Americans’ use of digital platforms and new media. From January 13 to February 12, 2014, telephone interviews were conducted with respondents age 12 and older who were selected via Random Digit Dial (RDD) sampling. The study includes a total of 808 cell phone interviews.

About Edison Research

Edison Research (www.edisonresearch.com) conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of clients, including Activision, AMC Theatres, Disney, Dolby, Google, MTV, Pandora, Samsung, Siemens, Spotify, Time Warner, The Voice of America, Yahoo!, and Zenithmedia. Edison Research works with many of the largest American radio ownership groups, including Entercom, Clear Channel, CBS Radio and Radio One. Another specialty for Edison is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Edison Research is the sole provider of election exit poll data for the six major news organizations that comprise the National Election Pool: ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, NBC and the Associated Press. Edison is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue.

About Triton Digital

Triton Digital® is a mid-stage technology company focused on the digital audio industry. More leading publishers – including CBS, Pandora, Entercom and Slacker – use the Triton platform to enrich their content and deliver it to a global audience than that of any other company. Triton’s Webcast Metrics product is the MRC-accredited industry standard in digital audio measurement. Its Ad Injector technology delivers billions of impressions to millions of streams each month. Its ad exchange, a2x, is the only programmatic audience buying platform for audio and has broad adoption across both publishers and agencies. Triton Digital creates meaningful, amplified connections between audio, audience, and advertisers.

* Online Radio = Listening to AM/FM radio stations online and/or listening to streamed audio content available only on the Internet.

Infinite Dial 2014: More than Six in Ten Americans Own a Smartphone

Entry by Tom Webster | Tuesday, March 4th, 2014 | Permalink | 0 Comments;

According to the Infinite Dial 2014, 61% of Americans 12+ now own a smartphone—up from 53% in 2013 and 44% in 2012.

Smartphone Tracking 2014.jpg

These and other important insights will be revealed on Wednesday, March 5th at 2PM EST, during The Infinite Dial 2014, a free one-hour webinar from Edison Research and Triton Digital. This is the 22nd study in The Infinite Dial series, one of the longest-running research series covering consumer use of media, technology and digital platforms. This landmark study offers an unparalleled view of digital media trends since 1998. The webinar will be co-presented by Edison Research VP of Strategy Tom Webster, and Triton Digital COO Mike Agovino. Other trends to be explored in The Infinite Dial 2014 include:

  • * An update on Internet Audio usage, including new data on iTunes Radio, Beats Music, and other services
  • * Recent growth in Podcasting
  • * The growth in smartphone ownership, and how it has changed consumer behavior
  • * Updates on social media usage for services including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and more
  • * The connected car, and in-car usage of digital media

Register here for the free webinar: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/125538472

How the Survey was Conducted:  A total of 2,023 persons were interviewed to investigate Americans’ use of digital platforms and new media.  From January 13 to February 12, 2014, telephone interviews were conducted with respondents age 12 and older who were selected via Random Digit Dial (RDD) sampling. The study includes a total of 808 cell phone interviews.

Infinite Dial 2014: 55% of Americans 12+ Have Used YouTube to Listen to Music

Entry by Tom Webster | Monday, March 3rd, 2014 | Permalink | 0 Comments;

The Infinite Dial 2014 study shows that 55% of Americans 12+ have ever used YouTube specifically to watch music videos or listen to music–and 33% of Americans 12+ have done so within the past week.

These and other important insights will be revealed on Wednesday, March 5th at 2PM EST, during The Infinite Dial 2014, a free one-hour webinar from Edison Research and Triton Digital. This is the 22nd study in The Infinite Dial series, one of the longest-running research series covering consumer use of media, technology and digital platforms. This landmark study offers an unparalleled view of digital media trends since 1998. The webinar will be co-presented by Edison Research VP of Strategy Tom Webster, and Triton Digital COO Mike Agovino. Other trends to be explored in The Infinite Dial 2014 include:

  • * An update on Internet Audio usage, including new data on iTunes Radio, Beats Music, and other services
  • * Recent growth in Podcasting
  • * The growth in smartphone ownership, and how it has changed consumer behavior
  • * Updates on social media usage for services including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and more
  • * The connected car, and in-car usage of digital media

Register here for the free webinar: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/125538472

How the Survey was Conducted:  A total of 2,023 persons were interviewed to investigate Americans’ use of digital platforms and new media.  From January 13 to February 12, 2014, telephone interviews were conducted with respondents age 12 and older who were selected via Random Digit Dial (RDD) sampling. The study includes a total of 808 cell phone interviews.