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New options, but radio loyalty holds.


What do drivers want?  More than anything else, a new study from J.D. Power says the ability to easily plug their smartphone into their dashboard.  The survey finds 82% of smartphone owners want automakers to add the feature, a four point gain over a year ago.   Despite that new competition, most listeners are still showing staunch loyalty to radio.

J.D. Power says after smartphone integration, nearly as many (76%) also want voice-activation capability that in many instances can be used to control their smartphone.   The firm’s annual Automotive Emerging Technologies Study showed two-thirds of drivers reported owning a smartphone.  The biggest gain among those who want the ability to link the device with the dash came among Early Boomers (born 1947-1953), although it was Generation Y (born 1977-1995) that showed the most willingness to pay for it.   In reality, researchers say it’s not uncommon for consumers to say they want something — but whether they use it is a different story.  The J.D. Power survey says other top features drivers want include fuel economy indicators (79%) and active shutter grille vents (76%).

Even so, J.D. Power auto analyst Mike VanNieuwkuyk says automakers have an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage by working with smartphone makers and app developers to make integration seamless.  “These connections to smartphone applications need to be robust, affordable and simple to access and use,” he says.  Setting the price issue aside, the survey found men and sports car drivers are most interested in linking their smartphone to the dashboard.  The study was fielded in March and the results are based on responses from more than 16,758 vehicle owners.

Despite new competition, most listeners are still showing staunch loyalty to radio.  New listening data compiled by Katz Media Group from USA Touchpoints makes a convincing case for radio as the only audio medium to effectively reach a majority of Americans.  On a daily basis, AM/FM radio (including its station streams) reaches 57% of adults 18-64, the data shows. Within that group, 86% say they listened exclusively to AM/FM or its station streams.  Just 14% also listened to satellite radio or streaming music services like Pandora, Rdio, Slacker and Spotify.

The percent of daily radio listeners who tune exclusively to AM/FM radio and its online streams remain largely consistent across demos – although radio’s daily reach is lower among younger demos. For example, radio’s daily reach is 51% among 18-34s compared to 58% for 55-64s.  Panelists in USA Touchpoints cross-platform measurement service receive a smartphone containing an app, which they use to fill out an eDiary in 30-minute increments over a 10-day period.


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