Australian Infinite Dial hot topics are podcasting and smart speakers: Larry Rosin | radioinfo

Australian Infinite Dial hot topics are podcasting and smart speakers: Larry Rosin

Tuesday 01 May, 2018

Australian radio's leading audio platform.

“Australia is a stronger broadcast radio market than the US,” researcher Larry Rosin told radioinfo during the release of the 2018 Australian Infinite Dial study.
“For example, we asked people what they listen to in the car and radio was the number one answer. It was the same in the US, but here in Australia you have 89% of car listeners nominating radio, while in America it is 82%... broadcast radio here in Australia is withstanding the competition,” he said.
The research found that Radio is the leading audio platform consumed by Australians, with 88% of people having listened to an AM/FM or DAB+ station in an average week. It continues to dominate listening in the car with 89% of people (over 18 years) having listened to AM/FM radio in the car in the last month.
This is the second round of research by global firm Edison Research, studying the digital audio, social media, mobile, smart speaker and podcast habits of Australians.  Edison President Larry Rosin is in Australia this week presenting the study to commercial radio stations and media agencies.
Key findings show a rise in radio consumption across multiple platforms in the marketplace, with 88% of people having listened to an AM/FM/DAB+ either via free to air broadcast or online in the last week, up from 85% in 2017. That figure is three times as many people than the second highest audio platform. 
Podcast listening is increasing, so is the use of smart speakers, which have recently been introduced into the Australian market.
Smart Speakers and Podcasts
“Two hot topics are podcasting and smart speakers... A lot of attention is being paid to these platforms,” Rosin told radioinfo.
Smart speaker ownership is 5% in Australia compared to the USA at 18% but the US ownership more than doubled from 7% in 2017. Brand awareness of smart speakers in Australia shows Google Home leading with 61% awareness, compared to Amazon Alexa at 28%. 
Rosin predicts that use of smart speakers will grow quickly if Australian follows the American trend, which is nearly three years ahead of Australia.
“They were introduced in November 2015 in the States to a select group, then they expanded in 2016, then Google and Apple entered the market. This generated a lot of activity and low price points… If we align the numbers with the the same stage in America, it is extremely likely that Australia may follow the same trend,” said Rosin.
Podcast listening is also rising in Australia. Are smart speakers and podcast listening correlated?
“Not necessarily,” according to Rosin.
“But it makes people think of listening to audio more… .pure play music, radio stations, podcasts, anything… Having a smart speaker near you brings audio to mind more… they increase audio consumption. Listeners now have an infinite number of choices, so radio must work hard to stay top of mind so they will choose a radio station on their smart speaker.”
13% of Australians have listened to a podcast in the last week, with 16% of 25-54 year olds listening to a podcast weekly.  An average of five podcasts are listened to each week by those who are weekly podcast listeners.  14% of weekly podcasts are by Australian radio stations or Australian radio personalities.
The Australian Infinite Dial Study, commissioned by Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) via their PodcastOne subsidiary, and Triton Digital, provides updated insights into what Australians are consuming online.  The Infinite Dial research for Australia is patterned on the longest-running survey of digital media consumer behaviour in the USA and provides a unique profile of the 2018 Australian digital consumer.   
Young listeners
Are there differences between young people 10-17, and older people?
“As you might imagine with the new technological items, younger people use them more and older people are slower to adopt them. It’s the same in the US and Canada. But there are a couple of things we are seeing in this year’s study, those aged 55 plus are catching up, for example they are using  smartphones and podcasts more.
“They do lag, but not as much as they were in the past. Broadcast radio is stronger here in Australia. Even though people are using other things, broadcast radio is stronger here and withstanding the competition.”
Mobile apps
After just 17 months, awareness of RadioApp, the Australian radio industry’s free mobile app with access to more than 250 stations is 15%. That compares favourably with the longer established Tunein (20%) and iHeartRadio (37%) apps. 
“RadioApp is doing well but the industry probably needs to redouble its efforts to promote the app If the industry is committed to it,” he said.
Smartphone ownership in Australia continues to outstrip the US with 90% of Australians owning a smartphone. The 25-54 year olds have the highest  ownership, with 96% owning a smartphone.
Streaming Music Services
Spotify and Apple Music have the highest awareness, but Spotify is well ahead in usage in Australia.
“Spotify had large usage gains this year, putting it in the strongest position in the Australian market. Apple music is growing and we are also tracking Amazon and Google music. Youtube is also a big factor competing for share of ear for music listening,” explained Rosin.
The study did not track Pandora, which pulled out of the Australian market last year. “It wasn’t worth tracking them.”
Rosin says it will be interesting if Google (owner of YouTube) folds all of its music onto the YouTube platform. “They have  foreshadowed this possibility. If they do it, there will likely be lots of ads for free music subscribers, trying to entice them to buy a subscription package rather than listen to adds. This will be interesting over time to see if it makes people subscribe more or consume less,” he said.
Online video
Netflix remains the most popular on-demand video service, with 41% of Australians subscribing.  Foxtel Play, Go or Now is up in 2018 to 18%.  In the last week in Australia 49% of people have used Netflix, Foxtel Play, Go or Now, Stan or Amazon Prime. 
Social Media
Overall social media usage by Australians is up 2% to 82% in 2018, with 94% of 12-24 year olds using some form of social media. While Facebook is the social media platform used most often, Facebook usage is decreasing, down to 60% from 73% in 2017. Instagram up to 14% from 8% and Snapchat is also growing.
If you are targeting young people, Snapchat and Instagram are very important, but so too is Facebook…  Snapchat is still on the rise. 
“Interestingly, Twitter numbers are very modest in comparison to these other platforms. I would caution radio people not to assume that everyone uses Twitter just because most media people use it… Very few listeners are on twitter,” Rosin told radioinfo.
The Australian Infinite Dial study was conducted in the first quarter of 2018, using a nationally representative survey of 1009 people. It is a random probability telephone sample, comprising both mobile phones and landlines, of all Australians aged 12 and older.
CRA chief executive Joan Warner says the Edison Study is “an essential tool informing the industry on the technology habits of Australians.” 

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