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iPod and HD Radio myths and realities

iPods are seen as complementary to the radio experience, not competing. “Listening to your own collection versus listening to a programmed experience is still fundamentally different and (there’s) still a need for both,” [Jupiter analyst David] Card said.

This is wrong.

Anything that substitutes for radio listening is competing against radio listening and sapping precious hours of listening. The iPod experience is “different” but not “fundamentally” so, since most music radio listeners value an unbroken stream of songs in a random order, and that’s precisely what an iPod provides. Saying “there’s still a need for both” is correct, but it doesn’t mean one fails to cannibalize the other. How else to explain the 20% drop in time spent listening in the past decade among persons 18-24, according to Arbitron’s own numbers.

Does all iPod listening come at radio’s expense? Of course not. But some of it does. You can bet your bottom dollar on that.

And this:

Breadth and depth of programming remain satellite’s greatest strength and HD’s biggest weakness. Edison Media Research vice president of music and programming Sean Ross said HD radio has not made enough significant programming breakthroughs to spike unit sales. “It’s still stuck in the same loop of not yet having the volume of content that would spur a sale that would make HD content profitable that would allow broadcasters to create a greater volume of content.”


“Volume of content” is irrelevant. You guys need to understand this.

Premium content like pro sports and Howard Stern are satellite’s greatest – and perhaps only – strengths (well, that and default installation on the majority of new car models).

It would be irrational, meanwhile, for HD radio to spend big bucks on this kind of content when there’s zero distribution potential given the miniscule pace of HD radio adoption. If you can get Howard Stern, where are you going to place him? On the big signal with all the listeners and all the revenue or the little HD one with none?

I am also quoted in the article, but I’ll save my critique of my own dumb comments for another post.

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