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More Satellite Radio Subscribers Are Older - Not Younger Males

Dateline: 05/15/05


In 87 metropolitan markets with a collective adult population of 137,478,000, satellite radio has attracted a mostly male audience of just 681,000 or 0.5 percent of all adults in the 87 markets surveyed by The Media Audit.

From a total sample of 117,737 respondents, only 571 adults (age 18 +) said they listened to satellite radio at least once in the past seven days (7-day cume). “We were surprised at how little market penetration has been achieved by satellite radio,” says Bob Jordan, president of International Demographics, Inc., a 34-year-old market research firm which produces The Media Audit.

Some Surprising Demographics

“The demographic profile of the satellite audience is most certainly affluent and well educated,” says Jordan, “but the absence of significant market penetration also shows up in the demographics. More than 73 percent of all satellite listeners had household incomes of $50,000 or more, but that 73 percent represents only 0.8 of all households with incomes of $50,000 or more.” Approximately 63 percent of satellite listeners are men and 55 percent have at least one college degree.

Satellite radio is not another technology that penetrates the 18 – 34 age market. Quite the contrary, The Media Audit surveys found that 76.1 percent of all adult listeners are 35+ and 48.5 percent are 45+.

More than 29 percent of satellite listeners fall into the proprietor/managerial classification and 17.3 percent fit the professional/technical category. “Surprisingly,” says Jordan, “16.6 percent are blue collar workers and 11.0 percent are retired.

In the 87 markets surveyed by The Media Audit, satellite radio attracted only 10,000 or more adults in just 20 of the 87 markets surveyed. The largest number attracted, 76,000 was in New York City which is a market of more than 14 million adults. “The penetration in New York City was just one half of one percent,” says Jordan. Satellite only pulled one percent or more of the adults in just six markets and in no market did it attract two percent.

Satellite Projections & Current Radio Numbers

According to a recent Forrester Research study, satellite radio will have 20 million listeners by 2010. Jordan says “that even that number seems disappointing. Satellite has a large number of formats and Forrester’s 20 million projection represents the combined draw of all the formats.

Compare that projection to the News-Talk format in traditional radio that draws more than 19 million listeners just in the 87 markets covered by The Media Audit’s latest surveys.

Clear Channel stations in the same 87 markets attract more than 48 million listeners and Infinity has more than 35 million.” Jordan thinks the two primary problems faced by satellite radio are cost and lack of portability. “Satellite radio is competing with a product that is distributed free, and that’s a heck of a price disadvantage,” he says, “The portability issue may be solved, but making satellite portable is the easy part. Building the audience and selling their numbers is the tough part.”

- From an International Demographics, Inc. News Release

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