Internet Broadcasting Gets Broader: Monthly Audience Hits 51 Million

Internet broadcasting is shaping up to become a critical new platform for advertisers looking to reach young audiences and young males in particular, according to Arbitron and Edison Media Research, which collaborated on the study "Internet and Multimedia 12: The Value of Internet Broadcast Advertising."

The study's findings, released Wednesday, found that with a monthly audience of 51 million and growing, Internet Broadcasting is swiftly becoming a savvy alternative for advertisers looking to reach a consumer market that is taking unprecedented action to avoid them. Half of this estimated audience lives in households with an annual income of $50,000 or more. One of the study's crucial findings is that 42 percent of Internet Broadcast users listen to Internet radio while surfing the Web for information about products and services. In addition, 27 percent have listened to Internet radio while making an actual purchase online.

"Internet radio is the soundtrack to online shopping," says Bill Rose, vice president and general manager of Arbitron Internet Broadcast Services, adding that "Internet broadcasts may be the best way to reach these consumers while purchasing decisions are being made."

Internet broadcast's monthly audience, referred to individually as "streamies" in the study, are highly educated and upscale. More than half of monthly streamies are college graduates, and 58 percent have residential broadband Internet access. Fifty percent of streamies earn more than $50,000 a year, while 17 percent earn over $100,000 annually. Streamies are also consistent online shoppers. More than half made online purchases last month; on average, monthly streamies spent $720 online last year, while non-monthly streamies spent $522.

As one of the Web's fastest-growing consumer segments, advertisers are finding that streamies are considerably harder to reach than other segments, says Rose. "Internet broadcast consumers spend more time online, shop more often online, and spend more money when they do shop," he says, but adds that "these consumers also go out of their way to eliminate most advertising from their online experience." Sixty-four percent of monthly streamies deploy spam blockers, 60 percent use pop-up blocking software, and 42 percent block banner ads, according to the study.

The Arbitron/Edison Media Research report also suggests that Internet broadcast is a good way to reach the elusive young male demographic. Young males, Arbitron's Rose says, use TiVo and blocking software, and they prefer the Internet to television--the research shows that Internet broadcasting delivers a high concentration of young males: 53 percent of Internet broadcast consumers are ages 12-34, compared to 37 percent of the U.S. population, while 60 percent of monthly streamies are male, compared with 47 percent of the general population.

"Internet broadcast consumers skew younger and are more often male," adds Larry Rosin, president of Edison Media Research. "They also spend 10 percent less time with television on a daily basis, making Internet broadcasting a key medium for reaching this hard-to-reach demographic."

Joe Lenski, executive vice president, Edison Media Research, adds that movie studios in particular should promote their new movies over Internet broadcast. "Movie trailers are something streamies tell us they enjoy," he says.

While Arbitron and Edison executives concede that Internet broadcast hasn't caught fire at the same rate as broadband adoption, they claim that this is mainly because Internet broadcast doesn't have the same promotional muscle inherent to the large cable and telephone operators that sell broadband access. Nevertheless, they claim that Internet broadcasting is a new frontier for advertisers that want to reach a young, affluent audience.

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