Audiences Interact with Webcasts

A study of Webcast audiences released at Streaming Media East found they are doing far more than listening to and watching online programming, they are interacting with online information and advertising as well.

The study, conducted by Arbitron New Media and Northstar Interactive, found that 70 percent of online tuners click for content information and almost 60 percent click through for advertising information while they are tuned to streaming media programming. Almost half (49 percent) of the Webcast audience buys advertised products online, and 44 percent click on ads online.

“For Webcast tuners, advertising is not a dirty word. Television and radio stations streaming live programming have created a perfect environment for high-impact media advertising, and a new, growing e-commerce platform for Internet retailers,” said Arbitron’s Greg Verdino.

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The study also found the majority of Webcast users are tuning in from home (63 percent), more than all other locations combined. These results are somewhat surprising, because most people have faster Internet connections that aid Webcast transmission at work, not home.

Nearly three-quarters of Webcast users listen online at least once a week and more than one-third are listening daily. Most Internet audio listeners prefer stations with a music format. Over two-thirds (77 percent) of the people surveyed listened to music on the Web. A close second to music is news coverage, which garners 64 percent of the audiocast audience.

Almost two-thirds (74 percent) of Webcast listeners listen to out-of-area radio broadcasts; whereas, more than half (56 percent) listen to local radio stations streaming on the Web. Audiences also spend more time with live Web broadcasts from terrestrial radio stations that are streaming their programming real-time versus Internet-only audiocast.

According to the study, 86 percent of Webcast audiences are listening more now than they did six months ago. Almost 75 percent of audiocast listeners plan to increase their listening more frequently in the future.

News coverage and music programming were also the most popular content with Internet video viewers. Although not as popular as Internet audio, almost three-quarters of the people surveyed spent up to 30 minutes a week watching streaming video.

According to the survey, three-quarters of Webcast users said they would increase their tuning to streaming media programs if a portable device were made available.

“The audience for Webcasting is already significant, and our research points to continued growth of the medium,” Verdino said. “Portability is one of the catalysts that may spur this growth. Today, users are limited by the location of their phone line or cable modem. Tomorrow, they will be able watch the Web from the car, the beach or walking down the street.”

The survey is based on a June 1999 Web-based survey conducted by Northstar Interactive. Northstar canvassed a total of 1,527 Internet Webcast users through random intercepts at the broadcast.com and Vtuner.com sites.

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