Saturday, July 30, 2011

Radio on the phone?

The National Association of Broadcasters has taken the stance that having the ability to receive FM-broadcast radio built into cell phones--by law--is the salvation of the medium.  In fact, it is about the only solution they are offering to keep over-the-air radio viable.

So along comes researcher (and a blogger I frequently reference here) Mark Ramsey who has conducted a survey to see just how much phone owners who already have this feature care about such a thing.  The results:

What this says is that it simply is not all that important to them.  If the question had been, "How often do you listen to the radio?", it would have been a huge percentage...somewhere north of 90% I'm betting.  But of these guys who already have a phone on which they can get FM radio, only 5% say they listen "nearly ever day."

What this says...and what Mark Ramsey has been maintaining all that consumers don't particularly care about FM on the telephone.  Mark...nor I...are opposed to such a thing.  If the phone companies can sell it to their customers, bring it on!  The point is that the NAB and broadcasters are wasting time, effort and money pushing this as THE solution.

As I have said here over and over, consumers of media want to get content in a wide, wide variety of media.  They want radio from a radio, from the computer, from their smart phones, from their iPads...well, you get the message.  But what they really, really want is content that is compelling and engaging enough that they will dial it up, click on it, download it or do whatever they have to do to get it.  That includes over-the-air broadcasters, the historical controllers and purveyors or content.

But those broadcasters, as never before, face competition--not from each other so much--but from a broad variety of content pushers.  Pushers who are not only offering better heroin but giving it to users in a dizzying array of distribution methods.

People want what they want when they want it and by whatever means they can get it.  If broadcasters don't realize they are no longer in the tower-on-the-mountain-over-the-air-streaming-the-hits business, they are doomed to failure.  And it ain't gonna be pretty.

Don Keith

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