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The Infinte Dial: A Survey of American Digital Media Consumer Behaviour

03 Nov 2017

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The Infinite Dial is the longest-running survey of digital media consumer behaviour in America.

This 2017 Infinite Dial Study by Edison Research and Triton Digital unveils the latest research around digital audio, social media, mobile, smart speakers, and podcast consumption

Podcasting continues to be a growth medium, as 40% of Americans 12+ say they have ever listened to a podcast, while 24% say they have listened to one in the past month, up from 21% one year ago.  In addition, six in ten Americans are now familiar with the term “podcasting,” a number that has risen 22% in two years.

The 2017 Infinite Dial, the latest report in a series dating back to 1998 that covers consumer usage of media and technology, also introduces coverage of “Smart Speakers,” a category which includes voice-controlled devices such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home.  Today, 63% of Americans 12+ are aware of at least one device in this category, while 7%, an estimated 20 million Americans, live in households that have at least one smart speaker.

The Infinite Dial study uses the “gold standard” of nationally representative survey research—a random probability telephone sample, comprising both mobile phones and landlines, of all Americans ages 12 and older.  The study has become the report card on digital audio and other digital media, and is widely used and quoted by broadcasters, Internet radio, ad agencies, and the financial community.

Among the many other highlights:

• Half of Americans 12+ now have access to a Netflix subscription

• The Weekly Online Radio audience is now 140 million Americans, or 53% of Americans 12+

• Time spent listening to online radio surges to an all-time high of 14:39 per week

• Pandora continues to lead in the online radio space—32% of Americans have listened in the past month—but Spotify is a strong second at 18%.

• Social Media usage is beginning to consolidate around a few platforms, with Twitter’s growth rate continuing to decline—especially 12-24

“With 7% of Americans 12+ now owning smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo and Google home products, this represents an extraordinary opportunity for increased consumption of internet radio in the home,” said John Rosso, President of Market Development at Triton Digital. “Content producers would be wise to pay close attention to this growing segment of the market.”

“The significant numbers we see for subscription products, such as Netflix and Spotify, as well as the continued growth for platforms that are relatively ‘advertising-light,’ such as Pandora and Podcasts, reflect a continued shift in the ability for advertisers to reach consumers with traditional, interruptive forms of advertising,” noted Tom Webster, Edison’s Vice President of Strategy. “Advertising models are going to have to adapt, and adapt quickly, to the American consumer’s increasing willingness to curate their own media mix and avoidance of traditional advertising messages.”

Publ. March 2017