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Looking for Internet radio’s next big market? Go to the gym

GroupNext chartA new snapshot of Internet radio listening patterns identifies your friendly neighborhood exercise joint as an emerging “earbuds” market. The survey comes from the GroupM Next research outfit. It notes that a denizen of Internet radio is almost two times as likely to listen to the medium at the workplace or the gym as a broadcast radio fan is to listen to radio in those same places.

The GroupM Next study identifies two kinds of listeners: “High Internet Radio Listeners” and “High Broadcast Radio Listeners.” “High” does not refer to state of mind here. It indicates that members of the former group listen to Internet radio at least 21 percent of the time, while the latter cohort tune into traditional broadcast radio at least 80 percent of the time.

GroupM Next notes:

“There was a time, not long ago, when listening to the radio meant having to make sure those around you didn’t mind your choice in station or genre, especially in the crowded workplace. Radio at the gym meant having to buy a portable radio, remembering to bring it with you and making sure it had fresh batteries. Today , every smartphone and tablet device has a headphone jack, making for a portable, rechargeable radio that is always with you. Smartphones are freeing consumers to listen to Internet radio in more locations, with greater privacy and less distraction.”

It may be that we are in a transitional moment in which broadcast and Internet radio dominate in different places. The former still rules the car and the home; the latter is penetrating the workplace and various recreational public spaces, such as the gym. All this will presumably change, depending on how quickly Internet radio becomes ubiquitous in the automobile. But the national decline in driving, especially among the young, could throw a monkey wrench into various projected timelines.

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