Written by Radio


Note that this is cross posted from the Absolute Radio Onegoldensquare.com blog. I wouldn’t have access to these figures otherwise! And a hat-tip to Matt Deegan for suggesting looking at iPhone only figures in relation to radio apps.
Yesterday RAJAR published the topline findings (PDF) from the latest MIDAS research. MIDAS – for the uninitiated – stands for Measurement of Internet Delivered Audio Services, and this is the sixth time that RAJAR has carried out this research.
It doesn’t reveal specific facts and figures on a station by station basis, but it does provide a really clear overall picture of how radio internet-based services are evolving and being used. Notably, it includes podcasts and listen-again style services, and for the first time with this release, detail about the take-up of mobile phone apps.
RAJAR has highlighted that 20% of smartphone users on the survey have downloaded a radio app. That in itself is a great result, but not all smartphones are the same. While Blackberry, Nokia and latterly, Android have all shown enormous growth in recent years, the most mature “marketplace” or “store” to download apps is that of the iPhone family, including iPod Touch and now iPad. What’s clear is that iPhone users are using data services more than other mobile users (although we’re well aware that this may change).
If we examine the MIDAS data a bit deeper, it shows that 20% rises to 46% amongst iPhone users. In other words, nearly one in two iPhone users who’ve listened to the radio via the internet at some time, have downloaded a radio app. This is obviously fantastic news.
Here at Absolute Radio, we know the popularity of our apps because we can measure directly the number of hours that are listened to via mobile phones, and as our stats show, that number of hours continues to increase.
The RAJAR press release also highlighted the fact that 31% of listeners claim to have ever listened to radio via the internet, and 15% of listeners have ever downloaded a podcast, with half of current users listening at least once a week.
Digging a bit deeper into the data reveals a few more facts.
The number of people who listen daily or weekly to the internet has increased over the last couple of years.

Base: Those who ever listen to the radio via the internet.
And for the most part, people are multi-tasking when they’re listening online.

Base: Those who ever listen to the radio via the internet.
With more people having access to the net, on more computers, radio listening – which is a very complementary to many internet-based activities – it’s not surprisingly on the increase. We look forward to imminent launch of Radioplayer which will hopefully drive this listening further.
Awareness of WiFi radios continues to grow with 15% of people having heard of them. Of those who are aware of them, 13.2% own one. As we see more smart devices like the Pure Flow family of radios, this should continue to grow.
15.1% of all people listen to podcasts (Note: This figure can’t be compared with previous MIDAS releases due to methodology changes).
19.6% of people who listen to podcasts do so every day, a number that has grown quite significantly over time as podcasting has become more established.
Comedy remains the most popular type of podcast to listen to (which will come as relief to Frank, David, Dave, Christian, Geoff and Iain) followed by music and then TV and film.

On average, podcast subscribers subscribe to 4.8 different podcasts, with 35-54s listening to the most: 5.57
But mean numbers can be a little misleading. Some people listen to an awful lot of podcasts, and there’s a long tail effect in evidence. One respondent claimed to subscribe to 51 podcasts, and another subscribed to 99 (I’d poo-poo such figures, but I’ve just had a look at my own iTunes podcast subscriptions…).

As the popularity of podcasts grows, commercial radio stations have to continue to look at ways of monetising them. One question that’s always asked is based around people downloading but not listening to podcasts. After all, podcasting software such as iTunes will automatically download podcasts.
76.4% of people listen to half or more of the podcasts they download, with 25.0% of people diligently listening to every single podcast they download.
And once people start listening they tend to listen to the whole episode. 85.9% of people listen to most or all of every episode they start to listen to.
What’s more, people are happy to listen to older podcasts, with 82.6% of podcast listeners saying that they listen to episodes that are over a week old.
69.1% of podcast listeners listen on their computer while 64.9% listen on a portable mp3 player such as an iPod. 17.0% listen via their mobile phone.
Predominantly, people listen to podcasts at home, although listening while travelling is popular with a combined 44.6% of people listening as they travel.

Finally, 36.0% of people have started listening to radio programmes that they didn’t previously hear as a result of listening to a podcast.
Awareness of personalised online radio services continues to grow. It would be a complacent radio industry that didn’t acknowledge the growth and popularity of services such as Spotify and Last.fm. 41.9% of people are aware of such services, although that figure is very biased towards younger listeners.

That’s really only a subset of the data, but gives you a flavour of how people are using the internet to listen to the radio.
Note on sample: The RAJAR Measurement of Internet Delivered Audio Services (MIDAS 6) was conducted during June 2010 by Ipsos MORI. The sample comprised RAJAR respondents drawn from the main RAJAR survey who had claimed to listen to the radio via the internet, or downloaded podcasts, or listened to the radio via their mobile phone. The survey findings are based on 1,083 respondents.