Streamies Want More Digital Toys

by Feb 25, 2003, 12:00 AM
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Consumers who have tuned to Internet broadcasts in the past 30 days, also known as "Monthly Streamies," are "very interested" in owning a variety of digital devices, according to a new study by Arbitron Inc. and Edison Media Research.

The study, entitled "Internet and Multimedia 10: The Emerging Digital Consumer," revealed that Monthly Streamies, are significantly more interested in digital devices than the general population. Twenty-nine percent of Monthly Streamies are "very interested" in plasma or flat panel television sets versus 17% of all Americans. Also, more than one in five Monthly Streamies (22%) are very interested in High Definition Television Sets (HDTV) compared with 12% of all Americans.

The scope of the latest research from Arbitron and Edison Media Research has been expanded beyond Internet usage and streaming media trends to include information on consumer interest in new digital devices, attitudes about programming and a variety of media including digital cable and satellite television.

"Internet broadcasting is rapidly becoming a mass medium with an estimated 103 million people or 44% of the total population having ever used Internet audio or video," said Bill Rose, vice president and general manager, Arbitron Internet Broadcast Services. "Considering the high degree of interest in digital devices exhibited by 'Streamies,' marketers of consumer electronics would be smart to consider advertising on Internet broadcasting to reach and influence their target audience."

The study also reports that the "digital divide" in Internet usage appears to be narrowing:

  • Overall, 75% of the total population now has access to the Internet from any location compared with 74% of African Americans and 65% of Hispanic Americans.

  • The "digital divide" is widest with home and work Internet access. Nearly half (48%) of Hispanics and 60% of African Americans have Internet access at home or work compared with 70% among whites. However, Arbitron and Edison Media Research report that public libraries and schools have done an exceptional job in providing more access to ethnic constituencies. Over a third (34%) of African Americans and nearly a quarter (24%) of Hispanics access the Internet at public libraries compared with 19% of White Americans. Also, nearly a third (32%) of African Americans and nearly a quarter (24%) of Hispanics access the Internet from schools compared with a quarter (25%) of White Americans.

    "The 'digital divide' is narrowing and computer makers, Internet service providers, and broadband companies should be developing marketing plans for the African-American and Hispanic-American population," said Joe Lenski, executive vice president, Edison Media Research. "There is an opportunity to build brand loyalty among these important consumers while they make their computer, Internet and broadband purchasing decisions."

    The Internet and Multimedia 10 study also reveals that the number of Americans who have super-fast broadband Internet connections in their homes has more than doubled in the last two years, from 7% in January 2001 to 18% in January 2003. Average time spent online per week among those with broadband is 13 hours compared to eight hours per week for those who use dial-up. Between TV, radio, newspapers and the Internet, those with broadband allocate a much larger share of their daily media time with the Internet (27%) compared to those with dial-up connections (17%).

    Additional findings from the study include:

  • Consumer satisfaction with Internet audio is on the rise, with 35% of Internet audio listeners reporting that they "love it" or "like it" compared to 26% in July 2001.

  • Approximately 12 million Americans would be willing to pay a small fee to listen to content provided by the one Internet audio source they listen to most.

  • Most give local radio stations high marks for playing the music they like and variety of programming. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Americans believe that radio does a very good or good job of playing the music they like and 69% believe that radio does a very good or good job of providing a variety of programming.

    The findings reported here are based on a January 2003 survey consisting of 2,005 telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of Arbitron Fall 2002 radio survey diary keepers.

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