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Why U.S. Broadcast Radio Use is in a Decline


If you really like banal auto dealership commercials, then you would enjoy the typical American broadcast radio station. However, eMarketer reports that a recent Edison Research study highlights the trends in media usage among U.S. teens and young adults -- the results aren't encouraging for legacy marketers.

Waking up to the radio was a routine for this young demographic a decade ago, but usage has sharply declined. Also, as many young people have reduced their traditional media use, the Internet has replaced much of that activity.

The trend is apparent in total time spent with various media. In 2000, teens and young adults were spending close to 2 hours and 45 minutes listening to broadcast radio each day. By 2010 it had fallen to an hour and a half.

In contrast, time spent online had risen from an hour a day to almost 3 hours.

Alternative music listening services have also emerged. In 2010, 36 percent of consumers surveyed by Bridge Ratings ages 12 and over had listened to online music services in the past week -- 17 percent had listened to a podcast.

Pandora is leading among the online music services, according to online listeners surveyed in March this year. Pandora was cited as the favorite by 27 percent, and 42 percent had listened in the past year. No other service had more than a single-digit response.

The ability to skip songs and fewer commercials were the top benefits cited by Pandora listeners. It is obvious, to everyone but traditional media advertisers, that the absence of banal commercials online are considered a major bonus by all consumers.

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