Radio World is taking an in-depth look at “The Infinite Dial UK 2021” report this week.

On December 2, 2021, Edison Research unveiled “The Infinite Dial UK 2021,” detailing U.K. consumer views on radio and media. In this fourth part of a five-part Radio World series, Edison Research President Larry Rosen discusses the survey’s findings on in-car media and online audio brand awareness.

The report is based on 1,000 telephone interviews with U.K. residents 16 and older, during the fourth quarter of 2021.

In-car media

Larry Rosen started this section by looking at “Audio Sources Currently Ever Used in the Car.” In the U.K., “overwhelmingly the leader, as you would expect, is AM/FM/DAB radio. 72 percent of people who say they’ve been in the car in the last month, say that they’ve used the radio,” he said.

[Read more of our coverage of the “Infinite Dial” report]

In-car CD players came a distant second at 37 percent, owned digital music at 29 percent, online audio at 26 percent and podcasts at 15 percent

Rosen then compared in-car media usage in the U.K. vs. the U.S., employing slightly different categories: AM/FM Radio (U.K. 72 percent vs. U.S. 75 percent), CD player (U.K. 37 percent vs. U.S. 35 percent), online audio (U.K. 26 percent vs. U.S. 33 percent) and podcasts (U.K. 15 percent vs. U.S. 30 percent).

The fact that the U.K. has half the in-car podcast listenership of the U.S. (based on percentages) caught Rosen’s attention. “I would have to guess as to why that is,” he said.

A Comparison of U.K. vs. U.S. Usage of In-Car Media (Courtesy Edison Research)

Maybe it’s easier to do it [listen to podcasts] given the state of technology in the cars in the United States,” he said. “It could be just further development of podcasts” in the United Kingdom.

Moving forward, Rosen said that 18 percent of U.K. consumers 18+ (no reason was given for this changed age metric) reported using in-dash entertainment systems in their cars. This broke down to 20 percent for the 18–34 age group, 18 percent for 35–54, and 18 percent for 55+.

In contrast, in-dash entertainment system usage by US 18+ consumers was 20 percent in the U.S., compared to the U.K.’s 18 percent. “Maybe that couple of points difference would explain a little bit of that podcast differential,” he said.

Online listening in-car using a mobile phone was also documented during the webinar. The 16+ U.K. usage percentage was 38 percent (compared to the US 16+ rate of 49 percent). The breakdown by U.K. age group was 41 percent for 16–45, 40 percent for 35–54, and 34 percent for 55+.

The U.S.’s 49 percent vs. the U.K.’s 38 percent may be explained by the U.S. being “a bit more of a car culture,” said Rosen. “People [in the U.S.] are more likely to have longer commutes and spend more time in their cars.”

Online brand awareness

When it comes to recognizing online audio brand names, “the best-known brand in among these that we asked about is Spotify, with 71 percent of everyone in the U.K. saying that they are aware of that name,” said Rosen. “Spotify is followed somewhat closely by Amazon Music (65 percent), BBC Sounds (63 percent) and YouTube Music (62 percent).”

(Spotify, along with Bauer Media UK, was a sponsor of the survey.)

The 16+ respondents to the Infinite Dial UK 2021 survey also cited being aware of Apple Music (55 percent), Audible (37 percent), SoundCloud (34 percent), Deezer (26 percent), Radioplayer (21 percent), TuneIn Radio (19 percent) and Tidal (6 percent).

U.K. 16+ Awareness of Online Audio Brands (Courtesy Edison Research)

Next, “we asked everyone if they’ve used these brands in the last month,” said Rosen. “Spotify is the market leader at 30 percent, with everyone in the U.K. saying they’ve used Spotify, followed by BBC Sounds at 21 percent, YouTube Music at 14 percent, and on down the list.”

This list includes Amazon Music at 10 percent, SoundCloud and Apple Music at 7 percent each, TuneIn Radio at 4 percent and Radioplayer at 1 percent.

As for weekly usage? “Spotify is the clear market leader here: 28 percent of everyone in the U.K. saying they have used Spotify in the week before we called them,” said Rosen. “In second place is BBC Sounds at 16 percent, YouTube Music at 11 percent and single digit percentages for these other brands down the list” (Amazon Music and Apple Music each at 6 percent, SoundCloud at 5 percent, TuneIn Radio at 3 percent, and Radioplayer at 1 percent).

In Part Five of Radio World’s summary of “The Infinite Dial UK 2021,” we’ll look at podcast consumption in the U.K.

Part 1: “First-Ever ‘Infinite Dial UK’ Survey Provides Insights for U.K. Radio
Part 2: “‘Infinite Dial UK’ Details U.K. Radio Listening, Ownership
Part 3: “‘Infinite Dial UK’ Digs into U.K. Online Audio
Part 4: “‘Infinite Dial UK’ Looks at In-Car Media
Part 5: “U.K. Likes Podcasts Finds ‘Infinite Dial UK’

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