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Sate-LITE effect on Radio?

In today’s news:

Report Finds Low Numbers for Satellite Radio Satellite radio is not penetrating the 18-34 demo, or so says The Media Audit, a ratings service that surveyed 87 markets. In a press release headlined “Satellite Radio Attracts a Few Good Men – Very, Very Few,” the media ratings company said that in the 87 markets with 137.5 million adults, satellite radio has attracted an audience that is mostly male and consists of just 681,000, or one-half of 1% of adults.

But so what? Where’s the surprise? Satellite’s goal is to get 20 million subscribers (or whatever the goal is). They don’t care how much listenership they take from Radio. They just want to hit their subscriber goals.

Since they don’t operate from the same advertiser obligation as Radio does – since they aren’t “broad”casting per se – the ratings game doesn’t matter to them the way it does to you and me.

We aren’t in danger of losing the majority of our audience to Satellite and we never have been. We’re in danger of losing a fraction of our audience’s quarter-hours to Satellite. Their fortunes will be assured even if we just get “nicked.” Our problem as an industry is that we can’t stand to lose anything. Their opportunity as an industry is that they don’t need much of our action to be profitable.

Meanwhile, I’ll bet XM and Sirius are ready, willing, and able to take issue with these Media Audit findings. After all, when the sample of consumers using a product is low (as it is in the case of Satellite Radio), the error associated with audience estimates can be vast. In fact, with an audience estimate as low as what Media Audit indicates here, there’s almost no reason for confidence in the numbers.

Nevertheless, the threat to Radio will come from an assortment of rising technologies, only one of which is Satellite Radio.

And Satellite is not likely to be the most harmful.

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