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How radio consumption is changing among younger generations

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I recently gave a speech on Big Data and Data Mining at the Radio Days of the EBU in Riga (Latvia) and met other fellow marketers and head of European broadcasters from all over Europe.

There are two big lessons learned that I want to share with you :

  • Radio consumption has been stable for more than a decade, whatever the country
  • Usages are shifting among new generations (Y and Z)

Statistics on radio consumptions across Europe

The average daily radio listening time in Europe is 2h42 in 2014. This figure has been stable since 2009.

Daily radio listening time depends on commuting time. It is only 1h29 in Norway where commuting time doesn’t exceed 15 minutes (one way) on average.

New usages and habits among younger generations

One piece of research presented by Nick North (BBC Director of audiences) is striking. It can be considered a longitudinal study of radio usages among the population. Before analyzing the results it’s important to understand the concept of linearity in media consumption. Linear TV and radio is good old TV and radio where the consumer receives a message without being able to change the course of the program. Non-linear consumptions include fast-forward, skipping, … all those new functionalities that allow viewers and listeners to take the power back and decide what they want to watch or listen.

What the BBC study shows is that older generations got back to after a while to linear consumption (blue curves “age 29” and “age 34”). They started with linear radio and TV until they were 14-15, and slowly got back to normal linear consumption around 25.

Younger generations don’t get back to linear consumption in the same proportions as older generations. Although we observe the same drop in linear consumption between 15 and 20 and an increase afterwards, it never reaches the levels of linear consumption of older generations.

Conclusion

Traditional media should not count on consumers to change their habits. Linear consumption will become less and less popular and may certainly disappear one day. Media refusing to adapt will disappear on the long run. There is no other possible outcome.

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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