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Measuring HD Radio “awareness” is a waste of time

Here’s yet another study about awareness and interest in HD Radio.

The title of the article seems to suggest that “awareness” or lack thereof is a significant problem for HD Radio.

I couldn’t disagree more.

Folks who make this argument assume that awareness precedes consumption. But I argue that the two measures move hand in hand.

If nobody’s buying an HD Radio then there will not be high awareness. Rarely is awareness high for product categories that don’t interest you. Don’t have a dog? How many dog food brands do YOU know?

And, conversely, if there’s not high awareness, I’ll bet you nobody’s buying the product.

Hence, the pickle we’re in.

You see, awareness and interest and consumption are all tightly integrated. It’s not like you go through one door to get to the others. You can conceivably skip awareness and go right to consumption if the elements are right – just as you can discover a station and it can be your immediate favorite without you ever having been a marginal or occasional listener before, let alone “aware” of it.

So for our purposes, measuring – let alone tracking – awareness for HD Radio is a pure waste of time and suited only to spark some press ink.

That’s apart from the issue of what’s really at the root of consumer confusion over HD Radio:

It’s a bad and fundamentally confusing name applied to a solution in search of a problem.

And that’s why theoretical questions about the prospects for HD posed in surveys are universally wrong. The only thing harder than telling an interviewer “I’m not interested” is driving out to the Best Buy and plunking down a hundred or more bucks on a new-fangled radio.

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