HD Radio, previsioni fosche

Bridge Ratings, società di analisi di mercato, ha rivisto drasticamente al ribasso le sue stime sulla diffusione della tecnologia HD Radio sul mercato americano


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“La crescita di HD Radio è la più deludente in relazione alle precedenti aspettative del settore,” scrive sul proprio sito Web Bridge Ratings. Perché questa tiepida accoglienza da parte del pubblico? “Le risposte variano da ‘scarso o nessun interesse per il momento’ a ‘non ne sento il bisogno’. E’ c’è anche chi ammette: ‘non ne ho mai sentito parlare’. Meno del 9% degli intervistati si è detto molto interessato. Morale della favola, alla fine di quest’anno il numero di HD Radio vendute non supererà il mezzo milione di esemplari (a me sembra una valutazione alquanto ottimistica, considerando il basso numero di fornitori) e solo un milione tra un anno.
Interessanti invece le proiezioni per la radio terrestre, che sembra in buon recupero rispetto alle stime di qualche anno fa. Secondo Bridge Ratings c’è molta differenza tra le percezioni rilevate a fine 2004 e quelle di fine 2006. Due anni fa la radio sembrava condannata a perdere milioni di giovanissimi ascoltatori, attirati dall’iPod e dagli altri lettori MP3. Ora sembra che i lettori abbiano un po’ stufato e gli adolescenti americani sono tornati a consumare musica alla radio, anche grazie all’interazione col mezzo Internet. La radio si afferma ancora una volta come medium dominante e anche se nel 2020 la contrazione sarà sensibile, potrebbe essere meno marcata. Dalla home page della società di ricerche c’è anche un interessante approfondimento sui format radiofonici preferiti e quelli meno promettenti. Il rock e le news vanno forte.
In nettissimo rialzo le quotazioni delle radio via Internet. Bridge calcola che il 25% degli americani ha ascoltato una Web radio negli ultimi 30 giorni. Fossi in Ibiquity comincerei a preoccuparmi.

HD Radio

Of all the media we are covering in this latest study, HD Radio growth is the most disappointing based on previous industry expectations. Consumer awareness of HD radio continues to grow but consumer interest in owning or listening to HD Radio is slowing. 70% of the sample has heard of HD radio at some time in the past. Only 9% expressed that they are Very Interested in owning HD radio. Why isn’t HD radio catching on? The number one response from those who have “little or no interest at this time” was “Don’t see a need” followed by “Not aware of its benefits”. Bridge Ratings is reforecasting its HD Radio growth at this time. We expect no more than 500,000 users of HD radio by year-end 2007 and only just over 1 million by the start of 2009. These estimates are considerably reduced from our earlier expectations when a larger consumer base indicated interest. The fleeting nature of technology appeal by all consumers, but most notably the most active and advanced early adopters great affects a product’s ability to capture consumer interest. In the cast of HD, a solid case of product differentiation has not been made by the broadcast community and therefore, those early adopters and innovators who potentially were interested in HD six months ago have, for the time being, moved on to something else.

Terrestrial Radio

In 2004 Bridge Ratings released its initial projections for this report for several media including terrestrial radio. At the time, we noted terrestrial audience attrition – most significant among 12-21 year olds who were sacrificing time-spent-listening to terrestrial radio for new technologies such as their MP3 players and the Internet. Projecting forward using Bridge Ratings proprietary analysis tools developed by the University of California at Los Angeles, terrestrial radio had the potential to lose significant audience between 12 and 21 by 2020 with an additional, more conservative audience loss among radio listeners over 30 years of age.
In 2006 Bridge Ratings’ consumer analysis began to reflect a slow reversal of attrition by both groups. 12-21 year olds were less likely in these 2006 studies to abandon terrestrial radio as they were in the 2004 studies. This behavioral change hinged on two factors: 1) renewed interest in terrestrial radio and/or its Internet simulcast and 2) “iPod fatigue” among a significant number of 12-21 year olds who in 2004 consumed much less terrestrial radio because nearly 80% of their time-spent-listening to traditional AM/FM radio stations had transferred to MP3 player use. By 2006 our panel had greatly reduced their weekly use of their MP3 players returning to terrestrial radio listening patterns similar to those this group used in 2004.
The follow chart reflects the projected audience growth changes in terrestrial radio through 2020. The red trend represents the 2004 projections going forward; the blue trend-line represents growth expectations based on interviews completed for this 2007 study. Of significance, while there is still attrition in the later out-years, it is not nearly as severe as the 2004 behaviors suggested.

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