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knowDigital Finds That 'The Future is Now' for In-Car Streaming Audio

know digital

LAFAYETTE HILL, PA--April 25, 2011: knowDigital released today a new study, 'Challenges and Opportunities for In-Car Streaming Audio,' which reveals consumer perceptions and expectations of in-car streaming audio services. These insights were previewed in a presentation delivered last week at the RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas. The study is part of an ongoing effort by knowDigital to provide research-based 'Quick Looks' at various new media issues of interest by conducting in-depth interviews with 'real' consumers.

“Our discussions with streaming audio users make it clear that when it comes to the medium's usage in cars, the future is now”

"Our discussions with streaming audio users make it clear that when it comes to the medium's usage in cars, the future is now," said knowDigital President Sam Milkman, who delivered the presentation at the RAIN Summit West. "Many industry insiders think of streaming audio as primarily an at-work and at-home medium, but the majority of users we interviewed reported engaging in this activity in their cars. Furthermore, they look forward to services that will make it easier for them to do so."

knowDigital completed the study with 18- to 44-year-olds who reported listening to streaming audio for at least 20 minutes in the previous week. These consumers participated in one-on-one, 30-minute interviews with knowDigital personnel, who assessed these consumers' usage of streaming audio and other media and presented them with potential new options for consuming streaming audio in their vehicles.

Among the study's key findings are:

  • Roughly two-thirds of those interviewed reported some level of streaming audio usage in their cars. This was primarily through the use of smartphones, which consumers frequently plugged into their vehicles' audio jack; some consumers, however, reported listening by simply using their smartphones' external speaker. Thus, the idea that streaming audio listeners using the medium in cars is predominately a futuristic phenomenon appears invalid.
  • Most users of in-car audio streaming continue to use over-the-air radio extensively. In fact, this is the audio source in-car audio streamers use first when entering their vehicles, often citing the information elements and personality-driven morning shows that they view as unique to over-the-air radio as their reason for doing so. This suggests that over-the-air radio can combat the threat posed by in-car streaming audio by delivering unique, compelling content.
  • The majority of streaming audio users express strong interest in better technical solutions for listening in their cars, including after-market devices and factory-installed in-dashboard systems. This portrays a greater willingness on the part of consumers to pay for these technologies than many pundits assume.
  • While consumers are enthusiastic about the exponential increase in listening options in-car audio streaming provides, most anticipate limiting their usage to roughly five options when in-dash systems become more widely available. The typical consumer knowDigital interviewed described programming a button for their phone, one or two for over-the-air radio stations, one for their personal music library and one for Pandora. Thus, many over-the-air radio stations and audio streaming services could be 'crowded out' by the arrival of in-dash systems.

A streaming video of the 'Challenges and Opportunities for In-Car Streaming Audio' preview presentation knowDigital delivered at Monday's RAIN Summit West is now available for free viewing at the company's website, know Digital. The site also features a summary report of the study's findings for free download.

About knowDigital

knowDigital, based in Lafayette Hill, PA, provides brand research for digital media. As a division of Research Triangle Park, NC-based Coleman Insights, it has worked with dozens of traditional and digital media companies investigating a wide array of issues including the digital media habits of Country music fans, audio streaming strategies, the viability of mobile television, strategies for developing local web portals, music download packaging options and new media content distribution platforms.