Consumers Faced with Halted Radio Streams Find Alternatives

Many consumers who listen to radio station rebroadcasts on the Internet have encountered streams that have been halted due to disputes over rights fees, but have easily found other sources of streaming audio that deliver similar programming, according to a new study by Arbitron and Coleman, a media research firm specializing in music, trends and branding.

This new study - Broadband Revolution 2: The Media World of Speedies - examines the media usage characteristics of "Speedies" - consumers who have broadband Internet access at home, work or school. Nearly 70% of speedies who have used streaming audio are aware disputes over rights fees that have caused some sources of audio on the Internet to stop streaming. One-third have encountered radio station websites that have ceased streaming due to these disputes. More than two-thirds (68%) of those who have encountered halted audio streams were able to find other sources of similar-sounding audio programming online.

"Traditional radio stations that have temporarily discontinued their rebroadcast on the Web risk losing their webcast audiences to Internet-only webcasters," said Bill Rose, general manager and VP of Arbitron Webcast Services. "Our research indicates that the rapidly growing number of those with super fast Internet access, whom we call "Speedies," will find alternative sources of audio if they can't find their favorite station online."

Another key finding of the new study also shows that more than half (59%) of Speedies report tuning to the same sources of audio over and over again, while only less than a quarter (24%) say they seek new sources of audio when they tune in online.

Coleman VP Warren Kurtzman said, "Like consumers who listen to over-the-air radio, online listeners say they spend most of their time with one or two sources of audio when they tune in. Therefore, if they can't find the audio they want it will far more difficult to win these listeners back after they leave."