Could Cell Phones Approach Radio’s Market Penetration?

A Bridge Ratings study examined the potential impact of cell phone use on radio listenership, in cars:

In the United States, 70.3% of the population owned a cell phone in 2005…
In fact, today cell phone technology is the only audio technology that could approach traditional radio’s market penetration (currently at 93% or 276 million Americans who listen to terrestrial radio at least once a week).

The survey asked, “If the following audio options were available on your cellular telephone for a reasonable fee of $8.95 per month, how likely would you be to subscribe?”

  Very Likely Somewhat
AM/FM Radio 33 20
Internet Radio 35 18

…Traditional media continues to be an entertainment source despite the new media options available. Among the entire study sample, terrestrial radio fared far better than previously thought with a virtual tie in “very likely” responses with Internet radio.

However, when one looks at the age breakdowns, it is apparent that 12-34 year olds are more likely pay a “reasonable” fee to subscribe to Internet radio on cell phones than their 25-54 year old counterparts.

Satellite radio still lags in this comparison even when compared to Podcast radio.

I am surprised that so many would choose the limited menu of terrestial radio– a testament to the power of local media, I suppose.


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