Advanced Television

Research: Broadcast radio still attracts US drivers

January 24, 2023

According to findings from Hub Entertainment Research, while digital options are increasingly important, ‘traditional’ media such as broadcast radio still play important roles for those on-the-go.

The study, Media on the Move 2022, details what media devices Americans use while on the move: in their cars, on mass transit, or in the air.

Key highlights of the study:

1) Digital media in cars and personal vehicles is widespread: Aside from over-the-air (OTA) and satellite radio, digital content makes up three of the top five media sources used by drivers: paid streaming music services, free streaming music services, and personal music downloaded onto smartphones or tablets. Lesser used in-vehicle digital media include podcasts and audiobooks.

2) Mass media on mass transit: Users of mass transit (buses, trains, subways, ferries) use a number of digital media options along with OTA radio. Similar to cars, personal music and free/pay streaming music services are in the top five used on mass transit – but also seen are free streaming video services.

3) OTA radio is far from dead – at least in cars: Over-the-air radio may not get much respect in today’s digital world, but it is still a force to be reckoned with in consumers’ cars/vehicles. Almost two in three drivers (63 per cent) say they use OTA radio “every” or “most” times they drive, with one in six listening to an OTA simulcast via streaming. And, an OTA radio is the media device most likely to influence choice of a new car: 39 per cent say they’re more likely to buy a car if it has an OTA radio, compared with runners-up satellite radio (31 per cent) and Apple CarPlay (27 per cent) – the latter echoing consumers desire for aggregating media services overall.

4) Audio content varies by transport mode: Music and talk radio (sports, politics, or other) are more likely to be consumed when someone is driving. Audiobooks and podcasts – perhaps because they command more attention – are somewhat more likely to be used by those riding mass transit. News and weather are equally likely to be used in both scenarios.

5) Up in the air: On airliners, the medium most often used are books (37 per cent of flyers use them “every”/”most” times they fly), with personal music collections ranking #2 (33 per cent). This reflects the often-prohibitive cost of in-air WiFi, perhaps along with a difference in traveller mindset for long-distance, often vacation-related, travel.

“Traditional radio is surprisingly resilient in the car, where it has been king for many years,” said David Tice, senior consultant to Hub and author of the study. “But we see digital media – particularly streaming music and audio services – have made great in-roads into the media habits of commuters and travellers, which is likely to continue as in-car integration and access during other travel modes becomes simpler and cheaper.”


Categories: Articles, Broadcast, Consumer Behaviour, Digital Radio, DTH/Satellite, FTA, Markets, Mobile, OTT, OTT, Pay TV, Portable Media, Research

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