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Study: Radio Still King Of In-Car Media

September 15, 2011: Despite increasing competition, radio is still the leading choice for information and entertainment in the car, according to "The Road Ahead," a new study from Arbitron, Edison Research, and Scarborough Research. The study, introduced at the Radio Show in Chicago, looked at consumers' use of 16 different in-car media and entertainment choices, and found that 85 percent of all drivers or passengers reported using AM/FM radio in the car, well ahead of CD players, in second place with 68 percent. AM/FM reaches nearly 90 percent of adults ages 25-54 in the car.

Arbitron SVP/Marketing Bill Rose said, "AM/FM radio has remained strong in a much more complex in-car media landscape and continues to be the first choice of consumers for in-car entertainment and information."

AM/FM also dominates in-car time, with 64 percent, while CD players take 21 percent of in-car listening time. All other devices combined add up to 15 percent.

Digital options like satellite radio and iPods connected to a car stereo "remain rather small," but are "growing and very well loved by those who use them." One in four people 18 and up have used and iPod or other MP3 player to listen to audio in the car, but 55 percent of 18-24s have done so. Six percent of people 18 and up have listened to Pandora via a cellphone in the car, compared to 20 percent of 18-24s.

Telematics services, which allow data sharing between a vehicle and information and entertainment networks, is attracting a "high level of interest," says the study. "More than 60 percent say they are interested in accident response features, stolen-vehicle recovery systems, parked-vehicle tampering alerts, and remote unlocking capability."

There's also interest in in-car media applications, such as pause, rewind, and replay for radio in the car and built-in wireless Internet.

"We are at the dawn of another wave of in-car media and entertainment options," Edison Research President Larry Rosin said. "In 2003 we looked at the in-car environment just as iPods, GPS, and satellite radio were starting, and these devices have now become more widely used. Today telematics and other in-car media options are bringing new capabilities that have captured substantial interest among consumers."

For the study, 1,505 people 18 and up were interviewed in July 2011. The interviewees were previous Scarborough Research respondents, chosen at random from a national sample.



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