Randy Brown VP Edison Research

Quality of Survey and Sample Design Key to AM/FM Radio Estimates

In a recent Radio World article, Edison Research’s Vice President Randy Brown tackles the topic of online-only samples versus online and offline samples, plus the difference between diary and recall methodology. Most importantly, he addresses how these differences in samples and methods can affect listenership estimates.

Speaking about the underestimation of listening to AM/FM radio, Randy says, “…if you take a closer look at how some audio research is being conducted, it should give you pause before you prepare your eulogy for AM/FM radio.”

Read the full article at Radioworld.com here.

 

In-car radio dial

Radio’s Reach In Cars Unchanged Since 2011

Edison Research, working with NPR, recently tracked the results of two previous studies performed by Edison that looked at in-car audio consumption.  As the graphic below shows, a national telephone survey of all Americans age 18 and older who have been driver or passenger in a car or truck found that in 2018, 84% currently use AM/FM Radio while driving.  Significantly, this is the exact same percentage seen in the 2011 version of this study.

 

Use AM/FM Radio In Car

 

According to Edison’s Larry Rosin, “Radio’s in-car reach remains phenomenally high and unchanged since we last updated this study in 2011.  However, this does not mean that nothing has changed in the in-car environment.  We will look at the changes we are seeing in the presentation at the Radio Show in Orlando.”

These findings, and many others will be presented in a session called “Miles Different: In-Car Audio 2018” at 1:30 PM on September 27 at the Radio Show, produced by NAB and RAB. 

Edison’s Larry Rosin will summarize data from Share of Ear®, Infinite Dial, and a unique tracking survey performed with NPR, to show the state of in-car audio today.

 

Closing the Gap Between Podcast Awareness and Listening — RadioDays Europe 2018

Tom Webster, Senior VP at Edison Research, was scheduled to speak at Radiodays Europe Podcast Day in Cophenhagen, Denmark, earlier this week. Unfortunately, the best-laid travel plans were not enough to get Tom past the travel hurdles and to the conference. Fortunately, we have a video of Tom’s presentation on podcasting that was viewed at Radiodays Europe Podcast Day 2018.

Highlights: Sixty-four percent of the U.S. is familiar with the term “podcasting,” whether or not they truly understand what podcasting is or why they would want to listen to a podcast.

Only 26% of those in the U.S. say they have actually listened to a podcast in the last month, and 17% in the past week. The numbers for Canada and Australia show similarly low ratios.

Tom identifies four areas that can close the gap between a high awareness and a low listening level, and #3 and #4 are within your control:

  1. Expansion of podcasting space beyond iPhone/Apple-centric models to include Android users
  2. Increased adoption of podcasting by major music streaming platforms
  3. Create content for more mass appeal
  4. Teach people what a podcast is, how to get it, and why they want it

 

 

 

 

Fixing Podcasting’s Music Problem

When I speak to audiences of podcasters, I often joke that if you feature licensed music on your podcast, a lawyer will shoot you in the face. Well, this week I got to speak in front of a room full of the people that ordered the hit: music industry executives. I was given the honor of keynoting the Podcasting Track at this year’s MusicBiz 2018 in Nashville. Given how little these two universes intersect in practice, I felt like I was giving a keynote extolling the virtues of beef to VeganCon 2018.

Now, there have always been music podcasts; they’re just difficult. I started listening to music podcasts all the way back in 2005, with Brian Ibbott’s Coverville and my friend Chris McDonald’s Indiefeed . In their cases, they had to individually clear the rights of every song. Today, there are some very popular music podcasts–but they often come directly from labels or artists who can successfully clear and/or monetize licensed music. I listen to Group Therapy and Anjunadeep Editions every single week, which are shows produced by the labels that own much of the music featured. Music podcasts could and should be successful–-according to Edison’s quarterly Share of Ear® research, we spend 77% of our time listening to music, and 23% to spoken word audio. But there is no clear path for the average podcast producer to include licensed music on podcasts.

There is still a lot of confusion out there amongst podcasters about using licensed music. Nearly every day in the various Facebook podcasting groups I belong to, I see someone claiming that it’s OK to include that Imagine Dragons song in their show, because it’s “fair use.” Fair Use is a legal term, not a general sense of fairness, and let me tell you–there is almost NOTHING you can think of in terms of podcasting licensed music that is considered Fair Use. For clarity on these matters, I always rely on the sound legal judgement of my friend David Oxenford, who summarizes the main issues succinctly here. TL;DR–see “Face, Shooting in the.”

Here’s the thing: back when podcasting was a Rube Goldbergian system of pulleys and gears to download a file and sync it with your Shuffle, podcasting music was essentially like printing your own CD’s–which means paying every royalty you could think of. But things have changed, both in music and in podcasting. Spotify Mobile lets you cache songs, which is functionally like downloading them, since you can “keep” them as long as you are a subscriber. More importantly, Both Spotify and Pandora are ramping up their podcast content, and Spotify is already claiming a spot as one of the leading podcast clients after the Apple ecosystem. There’s nothing “downloaded” about a podcast from Pandora and Spotify–it’s functionally streamed, just like the music. There’s not much that makes a show on these streaming services a “podcast” other than saying it is a podcast. Tech has changed, and with it so has the relevance of some of the various rights and licenses surrounding the performance of music.

Given those changes, it’s time for the music industry to change, too. With a simple, blanket license for podcasting that isn’t too onerous, the labels could print free money. If that isn’t impetus enough, consider the stat I posted earlier that we spend 77% of our time listening to music, and 23% spoken word. If the streaming services become more and more important to the podcasting space (and I believe they will), that means the labels will theoretically take a 23% haircut from the royalties the streaming services pay them, as some of the time formerly spent listening to licensed music shifts to podcasts. And that is if we believe that 77/23 is static. In four years, Podcasting has doubled its Share of Ear from 2% of all audio consumed to 4%. That is remarkable growth. To date, that growth has come from a shifting of the spoken word pie, but it’s not hard to see time spent with podcasts encroaching on music as well.

What all of this means is that figuring out a simple way to license music for podcasts is a win-win for everyone involved. Lowering the barriers here will result in more music, more royalties, and better podcasts! I can tell you from experience–doing a music podcast without actually being able to play music is like ordering the tasting menu at Gotham and spending the rest of the night having the dishes described to you in detail but not actually served.

And for my fellow podcasters, you want this to happen. Being legally impaired against frictionless use of music in podcasts locks you out of the earbuds of millions of Americans. Fix this, and watch podcasting explode. I was encouraged by the reception I got at MusicBiz on the topic. Let’s find a way in the next few years to stop the shootings.

Listening to Radio Streams in USA Represents Less than 10% of All Listening to Broadcast Radio

Download the complete presentation here.

The annual conference of the American Association of Public Opinion Researchers is running this week in Denver, and Edison Research is proud that our team is giving four different presentations on best practices in survey research.

One of these presentations is from Edison VP Randy Brown, who is documenting the issues that come from implementing surveys online that attempt to measure internet behaviors. .

As you can see in Randy’s report, streaming behaviors will be overstated in a survey implemented online because it is difficult to reach lighter internet users from internet sample frames, even if one is using high-quality internet samples. Beyond that, about 10% of Americans still have no online access and are entirely invisible to online research.

The report documents the steps we take to make sure that our research represents the total population – using our Share of Ear® studies as his example.

One prime example of why these steps need to be taken can be seen with regard to listening to the content produced by America’s broadcast radio stations.  Share of Ear® determines whether listening to radio content is coming via the over-the-air signal (whether analog or HD) or from the station’s streams.

Our estimate is that 8% of the combined listening to broadcast radio content is from the streams and 92% is from over-the-air.

Nielsen has produced similar estimates. These numbers would be vastly higher (and incorrect) if we did not take the steps we do to correctly represent all listeners and all listening.

This is not, of course, to say that radio streams are unimportant – in fact they are crucial.  It is to say, however, that one can be misled by estimates that are not designed to fully represent a population, as Randy discusses in his talk.

It is worth noting that we see quite a difference based on the type of content.  For news, sports and personalities, streams comprise 12% of the total listening, whereas for music the streams are 6%.  Perhaps this speaks to streaming being more vital for radio’s more unique aspects.