The data, aggregated into the National Media-Lifestyle Survey, grew out of Arbitron's Portable People Meter study in and around Philadelphia. Arbitron's pager-like device is carried by consumers and detects audio codes that determine what's been listened to during the course of a day in television and radio, even out of home. It's billed as a more advanced way of finding out just how much media is consumed in a given day. It's been known for years now that the previous diary-based systems have been flawed but no one had a system that could solve the problem and accurately tally media usage.
Arbitron tallied the penetration of radio and television in its survey participants' lives, finding that radios are better dispersed than TVs. The penetration of radios in consumers' vehicles is high, 88%, compared to only television's 2%. Radios are found in 77% of primary bedrooms (and 50% of other bedrooms in the house), 68% of living rooms, 38% of kitchens and 15% of bathrooms. Televisions are found in 68% of primary bedrooms, 93% of living rooms, 45% of other bedrooms, 20% of kitchens and 1% of bathrooms.
The report finds that if the television is located in a room, more than likely it's on, with a more than 80% chance that someone will be watching it. Arbitron said that radio reaches a similar usage rate among people who have them in cars they use daily.
Arbitron also found that radio and TV use is three times higher for people older than 55 than it is for the 18-34 crowd, with 77% usage with radio and 56% usage for television among the 55-and-older consumer. Only 29% of the 18-34s use the radio in the kitchen and for television, the usage rate is even lower at 20%. Arbitron pointed out that planners targeting older people could use that knowledge to promote packaged goods.
Other findings of the Arbitron study: