Arbitron and Edison: To Infinity and Beyond

Posted on April 6, 2011


Arbitron and Edison Research have released the topline results of their 19th Infinite Dial research study. The series, which dates back to 1998, is one of the longest running, continuous studies of how the internet and other digital platforms have impacted media consumption.

While I can’t say there were any major revelations in the presentation there were a few notable findings.

The Digital Home

Computers have moved beyond the home office. More than 85% of homes with internet access have a high-speed broadband connection and two-thirds of those homes have their own Wi-Fi network. They need it because more than half of all American homes, internet connected or not, have two or more working computers.

Media Consumption Increasing

Just because people are consuming more media online does not mean they are cutting back their time with traditional media outlets like radio and television. The total combined time spent with radio, TV and the internet has gone up from 6:50 a day in 2001 to 8:11 today; an increase of 20%. Even people who are heavy consumers of one particular form of media continue to use the other two at the same level as the general population.  

Online Radio Grows

Over half of Americans have listened to an audio stream at some point and 34% — around 89 million people – listened in the last month. Weekly online radio listenership has quadrupled in the last ten years from 5% in 2001 to 22% today.

Digging deeper into the 34% of people who listened to online radio in the last month, 12% listened exclusively to streams from AM or FM stations while 13% were exclusive to online only streams. Only the remaining 9% listened to both types.

Facebook Domination

Facebook dominates the social networking landscape. Over half of Americans ages 12 and up have a Facebook profile. When the question is expanded to having a profile on any social network, not just Facebook, the number rises just one percent. People may have multiple profiles, but if you do social networking you are on Facebook.  

The executive summary and Power Point presentations from Tuesday are available at both the Edison Research and Arbitron Web sites.