Consumers Prefer Listening to Surfing, Watching

Whether obtained through purchase or through free downloads, listening to music tops the list of U.S, consumers’ favorite daily media activities. Results from a pair of 2003 Parks Associates’ surveys indicate that listening to music holds the edge over PC usage, TV watching and other media consumption.

“Given that 75 percent of U.S. households now own two or more TVs, and that on average a household watches TV at least seven hours per day, there is no doubt that TV is the most frequently used media device in the home,” said Michael Greeson, vice president and principal analyst for Parks Associates. “However, when consumers are asked about the most important media activity, music tops the list.”

Percentages of U.S. Heads-of-Households
that Find Certain Media Applications
to be Important in Daily Life
Listening to music 59%
Using the PC 53%
Watching TV 51%
Watching movies 38%
Viewing home photos 31%
Viewing home movies 16%
Base: 1,005
Source: Parks Associates

While listening to music ranked highest among heads-of-household between the ages of 18 and 24, using the PC topped the list among heads-of-household ages 45 to 54, and watching TV finished first among heads-of-household aged 65 and older.

The proliferation of new audio technology allows music lovers a myriad of listening choices. In-Stat/MDR predicts that worldwide portable digital music player unit shipments (including solid state, hard disk drive, CD/MP3 and mini disc products) will grow from about 6.8 million in 2002 to over 36 million in 2007, with North America remaining as the dominant market for portable digital audio players through 2007.

Hard disk drive-based players are expected to have the highest growth rate, while CD/MP3 players will have the highest volumes. Roughly 22 percent of all portable CD players will incorporate MP3 technology in 2003.

The home jukebox and receiver markets are still in their infancy, and are growing at a slow rate in terms of volume. “However, the increased penetration of broadband and home networking technologies, and the ability to share content around the house will have a positive affect on this market,” says Cindy Wolf, an analyst with In-Stat/MDR. Both home jukeboxes and receivers will experience their highest growth in 2004, but jukeboxes will continue to outship receivers.

In-Stat/MDR also found that the percentage of respondents owning digital audio players has increased from 15.5 percent in 2001 to 20.3 percent in 2002.

The results of a June 2003 Jupiter Research (a unit of this site’s corporate parent) report indicate that listening to music via the PC is a growing trend – 58 percent of online users had Real Audio, Player, or Jukebox installed on the primary home computer in 2002, representing 32 percent growth from the prior year.

Top Music Sites, June 2003, U.S., at Home
Brand or Channel Unique
Time Per
AOL Music Channel 7,911,000 0:20:34
MusicMatch Jukebox 6,341,000 1:03:01
LAUNCH 4,208,000 0:14:23
MTV Networks Music 3,366,000 0:10:19
VUNet Music & Media 2,891,000 0:06:34
Sony Music 2,470,000 0:05:32
BMG Music Service 2,235,000 0:10:55
Warner Music Group 2,037,000 0:04:45 1,863,000 0:03:51 1,232,000 0:04:02
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings

As evidenced by traffic figures from Nielsen//NetRatings, online music sources are enjoying popularity. Wolf comments on the obstacles subscription music services face: “Although subscription services are offering some of what consumers are asking for (streaming, downloading, burning), issues related to service bundling, pricing and regulations remain. These services will need to attract more subscribers in the coming year in order to continue to be a viable option for consumers.”

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