According to Pew Research Center’s “2015 State of the News Media” report, 91 percent of Americans aged 12 and over listened to AM/FM radio -proving that radio is here to stay. However, 50 percent of Americans reported listening to radio online over the last month, indicating that there is a definite shift in the way people are taking in the audio platform. With this in mind, it is important that radio innovates to become digital friendly, conforming to listener’s changing demands.
With the transition to digital, mobile is the largest growing area, having already surpassed desktop usage. Media Life Magazine notes that 75.8 percent of online users use mobile over the desktop platform. That number is only going to continue to grow as more and more users utilize mobile radio in their cars.
Now that it is 2015 and nearly everybody is obsessed with their smart phones, it is important that every radio station does its best to make their service car friendly. I am not sure whether an app or regular online website would be best, but since Pew states that over a third of US smartphone users listen to radio in the car through mobile, it is critical that all radio stations push mobile content. Pew also notes that digital radio advertisement is revenue, putting even more importance on online.
A service like Pandora is a good example of a business that gets it. They were at the forefront of the mobile first movement and have shown a tremendous amount of success in bringing in revenue. 80 percent of their revenue is through mobile this year, generating a whopping $752 million. They also vaulted their way to the seventh most popular phone app, according to comScore. With 44% of smartphone users downloading the app, it shows that the future of radio most definitely lies within mobile.
Business Insider also has some interesting numbers that prove that mobile advertising is growing quickly. Mobile advertising revenue is already at $50 billion and is projected to reach 82.7 billion in 2018. For radio to stay alive it is best that the businesses go into mobile to generate more money. Not only will they generate more revenue, but the revenue is growing because the use of mobile is growing at a crazy rate.
The growth of podcasts is also another reason why radio needs to be on the ball in the transition to mobile. With the popularity of podcasts such as Serial, more than a third of Americans can now say that they have listened to a podcast. Podcasts are already designed to be played specifically on mobile devices, so radio is going to need to make sure that they do not lose listeners in the mobile transition.
The use of mobile devices for everything has continued to grow as fast as the popularity of smart phones. If radio wants to continue to have a large amount of relevance, it is clear that they need to do their best to transition to a more mobile friendly industry. — Connor Hayes