The Infinite Dial 2011 – Navigating Digital Platforms

Smartphone Ownership Doubles Year Over Year to Nearly One-Third of Americans Says New Arbitron/Edison Research Study

Study Also Reveals That Facebook, Multi-Computer Homes Cross 50% Threshold

The percentage of Americans age 12 and older who have a smartphone has more than doubled in the past year, from 14 percent to 31 percent of the population according to the new national survey from Arbitron Inc. (NYSE: ARB) and Edison Research, The Infinite Dial 2011: Navigating Digital Platforms.

The study, released today, is the 19th in a series of studies dating back to 1998. Among the many other findings:

* Facebook is now being used by a majority of all Americans age 12 and over (51%); this number was only 8% when Arbitron/Edison Research first measured the social media phenomenon in 2008.

* A majority of American households now have two or more computers (51%); as compared to 24% of households in 2002.

* Usage of online radio is up significantly, with weekly usage of all forms of online radio having doubled in the last five years; self-reported weekly time spent with online radio is now nearly 10 hours (9 hours 47 minutes).

* Daily time spent with TV, Radio and the Internet combined has increased by 20 percent in the last ten years, with self-reported daily usage now at 8 hours 11 minutes compared to 6 hours 50 minutes in 2001.

* Just under one-third of all Americans (31%) have plugged an MP3 player such as an Apple iPod into their car stereo systems.

* One in ten Americans report listening to Pandora Internet Radio in the week before they were surveyed.

* Among the 81% of American households with Internet access, two-thirds now have a Wi-Fi network installed.

* More than one-tenth of all cell phone owners have listened to online radio streamed in their cars by connecting their phones to their car stereo system.

“When you consider the rapid growth in ownership of smartphones in context with the continued rise in the use of social media it becomes increasingly clear that these platforms are fueling fundamental changes in consumer expectations and how they use media,” said Bill Rose, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Arbitron Inc.

“What’s fascinating about the Internet over the past ten years is the additive effect it has had upon the American media diet, which continues to expand,” said Tom Webster, Vice President of Strategy and Marketing, Edison Research. “Rather than crowding other forms of media off the plate, so to speak, digital media is being consumed simultaneously with offline media, and in venues and opportunities where media might not have been consumed previously.”

Since 1998, this notable research series has reported on and analyzed consumer use of the Internet, digital platforms and their impact on radio.

“This study provides further evidence of radio’s continued resilience and relevance in today’s digital landscape,” said Arbitron’s Rose.

“The ubiquity of social media usage — and Facebook, in particular — has had an enormous impact upon the ways in which people communicate with each other – which has profoundly affected not only how companies market themselves, but also how they hire and train internally,” said Webster from Edison Research.

Download “The Infinite Dial: 2011” Presentation Slides
Download “The Infinite Dial: 2011” Executive Summary

How the study was conducted

A total of 2,020 persons were interviewed to investigate Americans’ use of digital platforms and new media. From January 4 to February 2, 2011, telephone interviews were conducted with respondents age 12 and older chosen at random from a national sample of Arbitron’s Fall 2010 survey diarykeepers and through random digit dialing (RDD) sampling in geographic areas where Arbitron diarykeepers were not available for the survey. Diarykeepers represent 46% of the completed interviews and RDD sampled respondents represent 54% of the completed interviews. The study includes a total of 480 cell phone interviews.

About Arbitron

Arbitron Inc. (NYSE: ARB) is a media and marketing information services firm primarily serving radio, television, cable, advertising agencies, advertisers, retailers, out-of-home media, and online media. Arbitron’s core businesses are measuring and estimating network and local market radio audiences across the United States; providing application software used for analyzing our media audience and marketing information data; and providing consumer, shopping, and other media usage information services. The Company has developed the Portable People MeterTM, a new technology for media and marketing research.

About Edison Research

Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to radio stations, television stations, newspapers, cable networks, record labels, Internet companies and other media organizations. Edison Research is also the sole provider of election exit poll data for the six major news organizations: ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, NBC and the Associated Press. Edison Research works with many of the largest American radio ownership groups, including Entercom, Clear Channel, Citadel, CBS Radio, Bonneville and Westwood One; and also conducts strategic and opinion research for a broad array of companies including Time Warner, Google, Yahoo!, Sony Music, the Voice of America, See Saw Networks and Zenithmedia. Edison Research has a seventeen year history of thought-leadership in media research, and has provided services to successful media properties in South America, Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe.

Edison Research Releases The American Youth Study 2010 – Part One: Radio’s Future

One In Five 12-24s Listened To Pandora Last Month
Teens and young adults report nearly three times more daily Internet usage in 2010 than in 2000
Somerville, NJ – September 29, 2010
Edison Research today announced the preliminary results of the American Youth Study: 2010, a nationally representative survey of the media and technology habits of young Americans. This study is the sequel to a similar study released in 2000 by Edison, and presents both a look at today’s 12-24 year-olds, and a cohort from the 2000 study, today’s 22-34 year-olds. This study was sponsored by, and was debuted at the 2010 RAB/NAB Radio Show in Washington, D.C. on September 29th.
According to Edison President Larry Rosin, the original 2000 study “was a real wake-up call to traditional media companies, particularly the radio industry. Now, with this 2010 data, we have an opportunity to see just how teens and young adults have changed over the past decade, and which media are best poised to be competitive in the near term.” Rosin went on to point out that radio was still the leading source for music discovery, but other outlets, including YouTube and social networks, have grown to be significant as well.
Principal findings from this study include the following:

12-24 year-old Americans reported Internet usage of two hours and fifty-two minutes per day, roughly triple this age group’s reported usage from 2000 (59 minutes).

Radio continues to be the medium most often used for music discovery, with 51% of 12-24 year-olds reporting that they “frequently” find out about new music by listening to the radio. Other significant sources include friends (46%), YouTube (31%) and social networking sites (16%).
20% of 12-24s have listened to Pandora in the last month, with 13% indicating usage in the past week. By comparison, 6% of 12-24s indicated they have listened to online streams from terrestrial AM/FM stations in the past week.
More than four in five 12-24s own a mobile phone in 2010 (up from only 29% in 2000), and these young Americans are using these phones as media convergence devices. 50% of younger mobile phone users have played games on their phones, 45% have accessed social networking sites, and 40% have used their phones to listen to music stored on their phones.
Music tastes have shifted among 12-24s over the past decade: those radio listeners who indicated that Top 40/Pop stations were their favorite have more than doubled, while Alternative Rock stations were selected by half as many listeners in 2010 as in 2000.
Today’s 22-34s have significantly changed their media consumption habits since the first study in this series 10 years ago. In 2000, 44% of 12-24s most often began their day by listening to the radio. Today, radio continues to lead, with 29% of that same cohort (today’s 22-34 year-olds) reporting that radio is the medium they use most in the morning, while Television (25%) and the Internet (23%) have gained significantly.
A complete set of slides from the RAB/NAB presentation of these results is available on the Edison Research website on this page: The American Youth Study 2010 – Part One: Radio’s Future.
A total of 1,533 respondents were interviewed to investigate interest in, and consumption of, traditional and new media among American youth. From September 8 to September 13, 2010, interviews were conducted online with respondents age 12 to 34 chosen at random from a national sample of Knowledge Networks’ “KnowledgePanel,” an online panel that is representative of the entire U.S. population through its use of dual-frame sample recruitment and a known published sampling frame. Data from this year’s study is tracked with the 2000 Edison Research study, “Radio’s Future: Today’s 12 to 24 Year-Olds,” which was conducted via telephone.
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to out-of-home media companies, radio and television stations, newspapers, cable networks, record labels, Internet companies and other media organizations. Edison Research is also the sole provider of election exit poll data for the six major news organizations: ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC and the Associated Press. Edison’s global network of 11,000 interviewers executes hundreds of consumer exit poll and out-of-home media measurement projects every year, providing valuable decision support for marketers, advertisers and brands. Edison also conducts strategic and opinion research for a broad array of companies including Time Warner, Google, Yahoo!, Sony Music, Princeton University, AMC Theaters, Disney, Universal Music Group, Time Life Music and the Voice of America. Edison Research has a sixteen-year history of thought-leadership in media research, and has provided services to successful media properties in South America, Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe.
Owned by Chicago-based in3media, inc., was founded in 1999 as a radio discussion forum, and has since evolved into a full-service radio information site known as “Radio’s Online Community.” While continuing its lively and popular message board forums, which net thousands of posts from readers each day, the site has added news, expert commentary and the most credible music charts in the industry via a partnership with Nielsen BDS. The company publishes several widely read newsletters, including Taylor On Radio-Info. Those newsletters collectively reach more than 14,000 subscribers a week.

Hammers and Nails

hammer_and_nails.jpgHere at Edison, we use a lot of tools to generate the best consumer insights possible for our clients. When we started back in 1994, most of our work was telephone-based survey research and focus groups. Since then, we have incorporated Internet surveys, online qualitative research, consumer exit polling, social media monitoring and dozens of other methods into our repertoire. The Internet, in particular, has changed our business irrevocably, and made available a wide variety of options to reach consumers where they work and play online.

Yet, we still do a lot of telephone work here at Edison, and though our Exit Polling back-end systems would rival NASA’s for complexity, the heart of that particular effort is still thousands of local interviewers with clipboards. The key for us is to be able to deploy “boots on the ground,” even if the “ground” is online, to capture opinions whenever and wherever they occur.

I note this because there have been a lot of recent innovations in mining unstructured online data for market research purposes. As social media monitoring tools like Radian 6, Trackur and Social Mention continue to expand their coverage and capabilities, using those tools to discern what consumers are saying and doing online is becoming a more viable source for consumer insights, and one that no competent CMO or brand manager should ignore. We recommend social media research and use these tools on behalf of our clients whenever appropriate.

Social media research is attractive on many levels, not the least of which is that on some of those levels it’s free. Anyone can set up Google Alerts or use other freely-available tools to begin mining the social web, and even the paid tools available aren’t onerously expensive for the vast majority of companies. Because unstructured data online is “free,” and free is good, it’s easy to make the leap to thinking that social media research is a replacement for other methods and tools. Like any tool, however, social media research is great at some things, and lousy at others – just as telephone surveys are. The key is to focus on the best way to achieve your research goal – period – and not the best way you can use a given tool.

Historically, new technologies sometimes obviate the need for old ones, but just as often they cause the old ones to elevate their game and get better. Focus groups, for instance, will never be the same – they aren’t going away, but they have certainly changed for the better, and are now just as likely to take place in the field or online as they are behind a two-way mirror. The Internet has made our jobs as researchers different (not easier) and gives us the tools to provide richer insights for our clients, which makes us all better. We have to be careful, however, not to fall in love with any one of these tools.

I write this because lately we have gotten requests from some companies not to provide them with consumer insights, or decision support, but to give them an “online survey,” or some other specific tool. I actually got back from one prospective client that they didn’t choose our proposal because we didn’t employ a punch card system (!) they were accustomed to using. If an online survey is the best way to attack a given research problem, we recommend it. If it isn’t, we don’t. It’s a balance, of course, between the needs of the client, the client’s budget and the standards for quality research, but this balance is always best achieved when we start with the end goal in mind, and not with a specific tool.

Still, many companies are definitely doing it right. For instance, we are thrilled to have a partnership with SeeSaw Networks, a leading place-based media company, who just yesterday announced a solution to reach Moms wherever they go with messaging that is synchronized to their activities and the venues they are frequenting. Measuring place-based media and other out-of-home advertising is a tricky business, and in this particular case the best solution is a surprisingly “low-tech” one – we employ the same network of over 10,000 trained interviewers we use for the National Election Exit Polls to conduct methodologically sound, rigorously sampled place-based research. Again, it’s about capturing consumers where they are, and in this particular partnership, that’s at shops, grocery stores and fitness centers and anywhere else they shop, work and play.

One of my favorite cliches in the world is this: when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Relying too heavily on mining unstructured data, self-selected Internet polls or even telephone surveys can very easily lead you down this path. Not everything is a nail.

Save The Date: The 2010 American Youth Study

In the summer of 2000, Edison Research released a landmark study of teens and young adults entitled “Radio’s Future: Today’s 12-24 Year-Olds“. This significant national study took an in-depth look at not just the media consumption habits of American youth, but also their attitudes, motivations, beliefs and desires. At the time, Radio was seeing erosion of 12-24 listening, and the Edison study served as a benchmark for more than a decade, providing all the clues radio needed to revitalize its younger audience.

mall_teen.jpgIn 2010, precisely a decade later, Radio’s younger demos are more at risk than ever. In the intervening years since 2000, the pace of change has accelerated, and today iPods, Pandora and Smartphones, none of which existed in 2000, are woven into the very fiber of our beings. In 2000, 87% of 12-24’s bought music on cassettes and CD’s; today, will any teen or young adult spend money on music again? What is radio’s role to be – and how can radio reassert its importance for music discovery and as arbiters of youth culture? What do today’s young consumers think of radio and where it fits into all their options for entertainment and information?

Edison is thrilled to announce the debut of Radio’s Future II: The 2010 American Youth Study at the NAB/RAB annual conference for broadcasters, The Radio Show, on Wednesday, September 29th. The study is being performed in partnership with This significant research study will expand to cover 12-34 year-old Americans, and will go well beyond merely measuring consumption habits. With the perspective of a decade’s time passing, we will be able to track changes among young adults and also be able to examine the same cohort we studied in 2000 – today’s 22-34 year-olds – and how they have migrated in their perceptions and beliefs since 2000.

The survey will be a methodologically sound, projectable national research study of 1500 respondents, from the same team who has been selected as the sole provider of US Election Exit Polling data for all the major US news networks. Edison’s research team will provide attendees not just with sound-bites and anecdotes, but with definitive decision support and insight regarding not only how America’s youth use media, but how they feel about various media channels and technologies, from mobile phone apps and media consumption, to social media, Internet radio, file downloading, music discovery and the place of radio in their culture.

ADM research notes podcast advertising appeals to “unreachable” consumers

Washington, DC – January 28, 2010 – The Association for Downloadable Media, in conjunction with Edison Research, announced today the findings of its recently concluded Podcast Consumer Attitudes study. Respondents to this online study of active podcast consumers indicated that although they are increasingly turning away from some mass media platforms and advertising approaches, they are receptive to advertising and sponsorship messages in downloadable media. These consumers also show a significant tendency to consume podcasts on their mobile phones, highlighting the importance of the channel as a truly portable medium.

According to Edison Research Vice President Tom Webster, “A podcast advertising buy is not a redundant media buy for advertisers and marketers. These are attractive, affluent consumers that mass media is losing.” He also notes, “Ninety percent of these respondents indicated that they had taken some kind of action as a result of podcast advertising or sponsorship, and over 40% reported purchasing behaviors, which indicates that they are receptive to the right message, in the right context.”

PR Graph 1.png

ADM Chairman, Chris MacDonald stated, “This study reinforces what the ADM has always believed, that podcasts and downloadable media provide valuable and effective options to reaching the otherwise unreachable, in ways that work for the consumer.” He goes on to say, “It’s obvious that an online or offline audio or video buy that does not include a podcasting component will miss a very attractive advertising target.”

Other findings of this study included the following:

Nearly 80% of these podcast consumers agreed that “when price and quality is equal,” they “prefer to buy products from companies that advertise on or sponsor” the podcasts they regularly enjoy.

37% of these respondents expressed some positive sentiment about advertising in the podcasts they regularly listen to or watch, compared to only 6% positive sentiment expressed for the advertising approaches of television or commercial radio.

In fact, 78% of these respondents agreed (and 21% agreed strongly) that their opinion of a company is more positive when they hear it mentioned in one of the podcasts they regularly enjoy.

In addition, 72% of these respondents were at least somewhat receptive to sponsorship messages in the podcasts they regularly enjoy, with 5% indicating that they are generally “interested in them and/or often find them useful.” When sponsorship or advertising messages are read by the host(s) of the podcasts themselves, again 72% are receptive, but 20% indicate that those messages are generally interesting and useful.

Presentation materials and a full report are available at and

Survey Methodology

Respondents in this online survey were recruited using audio/video messages embedded in podcasts from some of the leading aggregators of downloadable media, including NPR, Wizzard, RawVoice and Revison3, during the 4th quarter of 2009. Interviews were conducted from 10/20 to 11/16, with a final tally of 4,787 completed surveys. Raw results from the survey were weighted to reflect the demographic composition of the U.S. audience for audio and video podcasts, as reported from nationally representative data sourced from the 17th Edison Research/Arbitron Internet and Multimedia Study (2009) and The Podcast Consumer Revealed (2009).

About the Association for Downloadable Media

The Association for Downloadable Media is focused on providing standards for advertising and audience measurement for episodic and downloadable media. The organization’s constituents include individual podcasters, media companies, publishers, syndication companies and distributors offering downloadable media, advertising agencies, marketers, technology suppliers, hardware and software manufacturers of portable media products and services, market research firms and audience and advertising effectiveness measurement companies. Through our volunteer membership, we provide leadership in and organization of advertising and audience measurement standards, research, education and advocacy to all those involved in portable media (Podcasts/ATOM/RSS media enclosures) across the Internet, iPods, MP3 players, mobile devices, P2P and other upcoming platforms.

About Edison Research

Edison Research is a global leader in market and consumer research for businesses and media organizations worldwide, and has been the sole provider of exit poll information to the six major news organizations –ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC and the Associated Press–since 2003. As part of this effort, Edison has conducted exit polls and collected precinct vote returns to project and analyze results for every major primary and the general elections in 2004, 2006 and 2008. Edison provides companies with custom research solutions to measure audience, effectiveness and other key metrics of marketing and advertising campaigns. They are, along with Arbitron, the co-authors of the widely-quoted Internet and Multimedia Research Series, now in its 18th iteration.