Insite | Radio’s New Media Digital Gauntlet

Bridge Ratings has been observing the increasing media competitive landscape since 1999 when music sharing service Napster first enabled fans of music to share music files without cost. The great music “goldrush” began and the “genie” has never returned to the bottle.

With this update we have podcasting shows it’s continued impact on radio time-spent. .

Music sharing and free music streaming are common these days. More than 80% of Americans stream music of any variety each month and Bridge Ratings is projecting that by the end of 2021 that number should increase further.

Since 1999 broadcast radio has faced an unending array of new digital media, each competing for entertainment time from a medium that virtually had the audio listening experience to itself. Aside from CD players and cassette players, broadcast radio had the playing field to itself until satellite radio was introduced in 2001.

Internet radio followed shortly thereafter.

Satellite radio, Internet radio, smart phones, social networks, music downloads, iTunes, on-demand streaming, Pandora and Spotify and podcasting have all siphoned off radio’s prized possession: time-spent-listening.

Updating our radio Passion Index for this analysis, it is becoming clear that radio’s future as a primary audio medium is rapidly changing into a utility for an increasing number of users as passion for a favorite radio station continues to be offset by other – more customizable options.

And as radio’s true fans – Baby Boomers – age, overall usage will continue to wane unless the industry responds by offering content directed specifically for those under 40.

For more about digital media’s impact on radio consumption and  its impact and an estimate on the medium’s life expectancy, click here.

Unless traditional radio finds a content path which will re-engage and attract younger consumers of music and information back to higher listening levels, we estimate the value of this medium as a revenue source for radio as a sustainable business properly operated will diminish over the next ten years as it becomes more difficult to reach younger generations raised on digital media.

New and exciting digital solutions from radio may offer some relief but to offset billions of lost revenue, the industry will require renewed passion, new thinking and the abandonment of a content playbook the industry has been using since the 1980s.

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