Fred Jacobs

April 2, 2007


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The results of a new web poll survey, conducted by Rock radio consultants Jacobs Media, consisting of more than 25,000 respondents from over 69 Rock-formatted stations from all over the U.S., shows that iPod/personal mp3 player growth continues to be impressive. But iPod owners – in particular – want an FM radio in that next Nano or Shuffle.

"iPods are showing no signs of stopping," according to Fred Jacobs, President of Jacobs Media. "Last year, our data showed that the growth of personal mp3 players was far from over. This year, our new study confirms that this phenomenon continues to have lots of life, and we expect strong growth throughout ’07."

Since this poll was started in February ’05, year-to-year personal mp3 player penetration has steadily increased. From the ’06 to ’07 studies, ownership is up to 47% of the Rock sample, an impressive jump of 34%. And among Alternative listeners, two-thirds (67%) now own an iPod-like device.

The study asked those who still don’t own one of these devices if they intend to do so in 2007.  Nearly half (45%) of these iPod-less respondents say they are very or somewhat likely to take the plunge.  One in ten (12%) has a strong likelihood to buy one sometime during 2007.  It should be another great year for Apple and other personal mp3 player manufacturers.

And of course, Apple dominates the category. Overall, nearly six in ten (57%) of personal mp3 player owners in this 25,000+ strong sample own Apple brand iPods.

The study asked about the most important new feature that consumers desire in their next personal mp3 player from a set list of features. Overwhelmingly, these respondents want an FM tuner (33%). That feature outpaces increased capacity, a larger screen, and video playback in importance. It is noteworthy that Apple owners are especially desirous of being able to receive FM radio in their next iPods. In fact, more than four in ten (43%) make this choice.

Of course, FM radios are available in Microsoft Zune’s and SanDisk players, for example, but they are not built into Apple branded products, such as Nano, Shuffle, or video iPods. Clearly, this is a great opportunity for Apple to better serve its millions of iPod customers, while keeping ahead of its growing competition. "It’s a no-brainer," notes Jacobs. "If Apple truly wishes to make the most versatile, user-friendly personal mp3 devices, an FM tuner should be standard equipment."

Other key findings:

  • Half (49%) of personal mp3 player owners say they can now connect them to the main vehicle they drive. This is yet another "red flag" to radio’s once-dominant in-car status.

  • The best settings to use an iPod-like device are while working out (61%), walking (42%), and at-home, at-work, or while driving (all with about one-third).

  • Mp3 player owners spend more time listening to terrestrial radio than their iPod-like devices, but technology is taking a bite. More than a third (36%) still mostly or exclusively listen to radio, but one-fourth (24%) now spend the bulk of their time with their mp3 players. And a plurality – 41% - divide their listening about equally between terrestrial radio and their iPod-type device.

Jacobs Media’s Technology Web Poll III is the largest study of its kind, conducted in late February/early March 2007, among more than 25,000 respondents across 69 different Rock-formatted stations. It is the third annual Technology Poll, conducted among Rock radio listeners who are predominantly members of station email clubs. Participating stations represent Mainstream/Active Rock, Classic Rock, Alternative, and Triple A outlets in markets around the U.S.

Of course, this is a web poll, and cannot replicate all radio listeners or even all Rock radio listeners. As with all Internet-based research projects of this kind, the results reflect only those who chose to participate in the survey, and do not necessarily represent the views of all Rock radio listeners in the country. Still, the 69 radio stations that invited their listeners to take the survey are a broad cross-section of Rock stations, from large and small markets, as well as those that play the newest Rock music and those that play only Classic Rock.

Jacobs Media is the largest Rock radio consulting firm in America, providing research and consulting services to major radio broadcasting companies. The company created the Classic Rock format, and works with Alternative, Active Rock, and Triple A formatted stations.

For more information, please contact:

Fred Jacobs

Paul Jacobs


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