How the UK is consuming Audio Content

One of the things I’m currently involved in is the Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) recently formed Audio Council. The council’s aim is to educate the market about the possibilities offered by advertising in an online audio environment through education, developing business models, and increasing value. The council consists of key players throughout the audio and radio sector including research company Audiencenet, who have just published the results of a survey which looks at audio consumption.

With a 3000-strong sample size, the research – called Audiometrics – has delivered some interesting results, the highlights of which I have compiled below, comparing them to the RAJAR stats where possible:

The Results: See the infographic for more

Infographic

In an average week the Audiometrics research shows that 90% of people listen to audio content. Interestingly this figure matches the figure for weekly radio listening, which RAJAR Q1 13 (a survey of more than 100,000) delivers. Additionally the research shows 48% listen to audio or radio online and although this figure is very close to RAJAR’s 49.6% for All Digital listening (including DAB, DTV and online), it is significantly larger than the split of just 13% for people who say they listen online/via apps.

The significant difference between these two stats is likely to be down to the nature of the question – Audiometrics are measuring all audio, whereas RAJAR only measures radio listening. This suggests that the additional online listening could be to non-radio related audio such as streaming music.

Interestingly this section of the Audiometrics study also showed that 6% of people are listening to podcasts on a weekly basis and a further 4% listen to audiobooks. These figures are higher than I would have expected to see and it will be interesting to see how these figures perform in subsequent studies.

Audiometrics also looked in to the devices that people use to listen to audio in an average week. Against All adults the results showed that a radio receiver was the most popular, with 56% of people listening to audio this way, followed by a computer/laptop on 34%, via DTV on 31% and smartphones on 25%.

Hi-fi stereos appear to be becoming a thing of the past, as they dropped right down the scale with only 23% of people listening to audio this way. Probably not that surprisingly, the figures are very different against 15-24’s with 53% saying they listen via a computer/laptop every week and 51% through a mobile/smartphone.

The study has also shown that the majority of audio listening in an average week takes place in the home (77%) followed by on public transport/in a vehicle (51%). Again, when we compare these figures to RAJAR there are some similarities. RAJAR shows 76% of people listen to radio in the home and 59% of people listen to radio in the car every week.

And finally, when Audiometrics asked what people’s single preferred device for listening to audio was, the results were again split between ages. Across All Adults radio at 35%, was favoured but against teenagers it is the smartphone at 36%, or MP3 player 35% (with radio only delivering 3% to this group).

As part of the IAB’s Audio Council project, Audiencenet are extending their Audiometrics study to include attitudes towards online audio advertising.

Watch this space for an update on those results and if you have any questions in the meantime in regards to online audio, then please feel free to get in touch.

*Based on research from Audiencenet on the UK’s weekly Audio Consumption in Q2, 2013 (sample: 3,112) & RAJAR Q1 2013

Simon Pearce is the Client Insight Director at audio and radio advertising specialist RadioWorks

A Question of Commercial Radio

I was talking to a colleague of mine the other day who asked: Are there any commercial radio stations that we cannot advertise on?

That seemingly random question led me down the path of contemplation…

My first thought was, I guess it depends what you mean by commercial?

If you mean commercial as in mass market, (i.e. commercial music), then yes, Radio 1 plays commercial music and could therefore be described as a commercial station, but you can’t advertise on it… Or can you? The last time I listened to Radio 1 there were loads of adverts. OK those adverts were for other BBC programmes, but they were still messages trying to get me to do something.

If you mean commercial in reference to advertising, then you’d expect that to be more of a straight forward question to answer. After all, a commercial station you can’t advertise on would almost be a contradiction. But that got me thinking about some examples, because there are some commercial radio stations – such as the soon to be launched Team Rock – which don’t carry standard spot advertising at all. Instead they provide the advertiser with opportunities to speak to their audience through sponsorships and promotions.

Different still is Amazing Radio. They’re a good example of a commercial station that takes things one step further, as they rarely carry any form of advertising at all. The station has been set up to champion emerging and independent artists; although there are no ads as such, the songs that are played are themselves like commercials, and listeners are encouraged to go to sister company Amazing Tunes to purchase the tracks they like.

Perhaps the purest example of a commercial radio station that doesn’t carry advertising is The Arrow, a DAB radio station owned by Global Radio. I for one love the constant, uninterrupted, stream of classic rock. (Don’t tell everyone about it though because if the listener numbers start to go up, I’m sure they’ll start trying to make money out of it!) 

A final example is UCB, a Christian radio station set up as a charity which rarely takes money for the commercials they play – and they usually only play charity ads. Any messages are normally designated as ‘consumer interest’ rather than commercials.

That more or less covers off the different types of commercial radio stations that don’t carry any advertising, though I’d just like to finish with a thought about the non-commercial BBC radio stations: Although these stations don’t carry any paid for messages, you don’t need to listen too long before you hear a minor celebrity talking about the latest research from client X. This is considered as Broadcast PR and is one potential way of getting commercial messaging on to a non-commercial station. (You can speak to us about this sort of thing too!).

So, to answer the original question – are there any commercial stations we cannot advertise on? Yes there are, but there’s plenty that you can advertise on as well!

(Suffice to say – I don’t think that particular work colleague will be asking me a quick question again for a while!).

 

Simon Pearce is the Client Insight Director at audio and radio advertising specialist RadioWorks