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RAIN 4/6: Bridge Ratings says Net radio has 60 million listeners, will grow 25% in 5 years

Posted on: 04/06/2010

CEO DAVE VAN DYKE WILL PRESENT STUDY AT RAIN SUMMIT WEST ON MONDAY

Research company Bridge Ratings has released the results of its study on radio and “device usage,” which shed more light on Americans’ adoption of Internet radio listening and mobile device use.

Bridge Ratings CEO Dave Van Dyke (pictured below) will present the findings this Monday at RAIN Summit West at the Renaissance Hotel in Las Vegas, at the NAB Show (more details are here).

The study found that more than 60 million people each week in the U.S. listen to radio over the Internet — either simulcasts of terrestrial broadcasts, Internet-only radio, or both. Bridge Ratings expects that number to rise more than 25% (to 77 million) in less than 5 years.

Currently, broadcasters on the Net have an edge in audience size over Internet-only webcasters. 50 million tune in to simulcasts on a regular basis, but just 38 million to Internet-onlies (obviously, there’s overlap there as many Net radio listeners enjoy both). But, perhaps because of broadcasters’ tighter playlists and far heavier spotloads, plus the maturing of the market, this proportion will shift. Bridge predicts the percentage of regular Internet-only radio listeners will grow, and the two segments will even out by the end of 2016.

As several other news sources have reported, the study points to decreased usage of broadcast radio. While a good portion of listeners are listening to less radio over-the-air, many have simply shifted their listening online, tuning in to the same outlets. “While this study reflects that time-spent-listening to traditional radio is down two hours per week overall, approximately 44 minutes that time is recovered through listening to traditional radio streams,” the Bridge Ratings study summary reads. “Our panel of traditional radio users has increased their listening of AM/FM simulcast streams on the Internet and intends to spend more time in the future using other digital listening solutions including cell phones.”

Lots of respondents are already using their mobile phones for audio. The device “clearly has the greatest market penetration growth over the last five years,” according to Bridge. Respondents age 18-24 are listening to “audio” (whatever the source) on mobile phones five hours a week; 25-54 year-olds only slightly less, 4.7 hours per week. And in the 25-54 segment, 29% say they intend to listen even more via mobile in the future.

Read Bridge Ratings’ press release online here. As mentioned, Dave Van Dyke will present this study at Monday’s RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas during the NAB Show. The Summit is a full day of panels, presentations and discussions about topics affecting Internet radio — from mobile devices to ad sales to business models. It’ll be at the Renaissance Hotel, right next to the Convention Center. As always, we’ll end the day with a RAIN Cocktail Party! Find out more about the Summit here and register here.

RHAPSODY GOES IT ALONE, DROPS PRICE TO $10/MO.

Rhapsody’s emancipation from former backers MTV/Viacom and RealNetworks was made official this morning with an SEC filing, and the online subscription music service finds in a position not unlike when it started-up. The company’s first move was to reduce its monthly subscription cost to $10, likely in anticipation of legal on-demand music services like Guvera (which launched in the U.S. last week) and Spotify. Eliot Van Buskirt reports on the company’s situation and plans in Wired here.

BENCHMARK INVESTS $6MM IN ONLINE TALK RADIO AGGREGATOR STITCHER

Stitcher, which aggregates online talk radio, picked up $6 million in investment from Benchmark Capital. Stitcher, based in San Francisco, enables listeners to create and customize free personalized talk/information/news online radio stations using content from various sources. Kara Swisher writes in AllThingsDigital, “The site focuses mostly on its apps on a variety of mobile devices, especially increasingly popular smart phones. It offers programs from about a thousand different sources, such as NPR, E!, The Onion.” Read more here. Stitcher content will be available as part of the My Ford Touch system in Ford autos, as reported in RAIN here.

RADIO MERCURY AWARDS NOW ACCEPTING ENTRIES, INCLUDING ADS DELIVERED VIA NET RADIO

Tom Taylor reports in today’s Radio-Info newsletter that the Ad-Week Radio Mercury Awards is now accepting entries, and that includes ads delivered by streaming radio to computers and mobile devices. Said RAB chief Jeff Haley, “it’s not only appropriate but necessary” to “reflect the complete sponsored audio content space.” The prize is $100,000.



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