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9/19/2005

 
MediaSpan Study Shows Need for Local Radio Stations to Integrate with Websites

NEW YORK, Sept. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- A MediaSpan study performed by Frank N. Magid Associates of nearly 35,000 radio listeners across all formats in major U.S. markets shows that local radio has an opportunity to grow its relationship with audiences if they further integrate their on-air and online programming and promotions.

"This was a massive study that shows pretty clearly that while radio is still a primary medium for most consumers, other new media forms are changing the way that users, especially younger audiences, relate to radio," says Mark Zagorski, CMO of study sponsor MediaSpan. "In order for stations to renew and grow their audience relationships with a new generation of listeners, they will need to incorporate new media activities such as podcasts, streaming and integrated music downloads into their daily on-air and online programming."

Supporting this notion, Zagorski refers to the finding that while 28% of the 18-29 year olds say they download music monthly, only 14% say they are "purchasing" MP3 or electronic music files online on a monthly basis, leaving one to surmise that file sharing may make up the activity gap. Zagorski says this points to an opportunity for the radio community to continue to work with the music industry to stem the tide of illegal free downloads and music file transfers. "It's still a significant challenge no matter how you look at it, but a radio station loyalty program that also offers free music downloads in conjunction with record labels is an example of a mutually beneficial partnership that may enhance listener loyalty while helping reign in the illegal transactions."

The study also found more than a quarter (26%) of 18-29 year olds download ringtones monthly. While overall, 11% of all respondents say they download podcasts on a monthly basis, 13% say they would use a radio station Web site to download podcasts if they were available. This and ringtone downloads are the only two music/radio-related categories where respondents' likelihood to use/download increases over current monthly use if new content is available. Ringtone downloading shows the potential to grow from 14 to 17% if made available on station sites. The trustworthiness of radio station Web sites appears to have the potential to draw in new adopters of these activities.

As expected, the study confirmed that listeners access radio station across multiple platforms with 40% of 18-29 year olds (versus 28% of those 30+) listening to streaming music from radio station weekly.

Nearly 35,000 listeners of all ages were recruited by Frank N. Magid Associates from 73 station sites across the MediaSpan Network of 1,000+ radio station websites to participate in the study. The study covered listeners in 13 different formats ranging from AOR/Classic Rock/Rock to Sports Talk/Sports, News/Talk/Talk, Country, AC/Lite AC/Lite Rock to Urban/Hip Hop and Alternative/Modern Rock.

MediaSpan commissioned the survey as part of the re-launch of its First MediaWorks division, now known as MediaSpan Online Services. MediaSpan has brought together its distinct online media divisions (focused on radio/newspaper/TV) into a single business unit, MediaSpan Online Services, to help create a stronger suite of services for all of its customers. They have also introduced a new national online ad Network for their affiliates. "The results of this expansive survey and its ability to help foster local and national online ad sales for our radio station partners is just one example of the client-focused benefits coming out of a stronger, more integrated MediaSpan," notes Zagorski. The study results are available to all MediaSpan affiliates.

Among the other notable findings of the study:

When it comes to e-commerce, MediaSpan radio website visitors are avid online shoppers. Seven in ten have made an online purchase in the last 30 days, and four in ten report spending $100 or more. Spending online among the audience breaks out as follows:

- Spent less than $50 * 18 percent
- Spent $50-99 * 13 percent
- Spent $100-199 * 14 percent
- Spent $200-500 * 16 percent
- Spent more than $500 * 11 percent

Use of the Internet at work is an important characteristic of radio station website visitors, as 69 percent have access at their place of work, whereas only 40 percent of the total Internet population has access at work. This fact coupled with a Socio-Econonomic-Status figure of nearly 2x the national online average means that radio website surfers are "the cream of the crop" for online advertisers.

News and weather top the list of why listeners go online and are closely followed by content unique to the radio/music category, particularly amongst "millennials." The study found that in nearly every entertainment-driven category, 18- to 24-year-olds are more likely to go online for the entertainment content than any other age group.

Specifically, areas that 18-24 year olds "over index" (index=100 percent) in weekly online usage include:

- Streaming music * 18- to 24-year-olds over index at 140 percent
- Music news * heavily driven by 18- to 24-year-olds who over index at
145 percent
- Music playlists and music videos * one-third of 18-24s regularly go
online to view
- Concert information * nearly four in ten 18- to 24-year-olds seek info
online
- Download music * one-third of 18-24s and one-quarter of 18-34s download regularly

"The study clearly showed that on-air radio has a complementary audience, online that is young, affluent, highly attractive to advertisers, and looking for unique content. Stations who can adapt their online programming to meet the demands of these consumers will benefit from higher brand loyalty, greater revenue opportunities and a multifaceted media relationship that goes beyond the radio," says Zagorski.

About MediaSpan

MediaSpan powers digital content management and online marketing solutions for the world's leading media companies including ABC Radio, Gannett, Infinity, Scripps and Media General. Over 4,500 newspaper, radio, and television properties leverage MediaSpan's digital content management, online marketing, web publishing, e-commerce and online promotional solutions.

For advertisers, the MediaSpan Network leverages our local media relationships with over 4,000 customers to deliver an unparalleled national online advertising opportunity for marketers. MediaSpan Network sites reach over 5M Unique Visitors each month worldwide, and cover 300 top U.S. DMAs. For print publishers, MediaSpan's Media Software business unit, Harris & Baseview provides mission-critical back-office, pre-press infrastructure tools designed to enable newspapers to efficiently deliver their product to consumers across traditional and digital platforms. For broadcast radio, television, and newspapers, MediaSpan's Online Services business unit, First MediaWorks, provides a comprehensive suite of Internet solutions designed to integrate on- air and online marketing programs to grow new revenue.

MediaSpan is headquartered in Research Triangle Park, N.C., with offices in Ann Arbor, MI, Melbourne, FL, New York, NY and San Clemente, CA. Investors in MediaSpan include Covestco-Seteura, LLC, Rustic Canyon Group, and Southeast Interactive Technology Funds.

Source: MediaSpan

CONTACT: George H. Simpson Communications, o: +1-212-309-9068,
m: +1-203-521-0352, georgehsimpson@att.net




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