Grady, Book complete
satellite radio study


School of Communications professors Connie Book and Don Grady released the results of their NAB grant-funded research on satellite radio this summer. The study of nearly 500 satellite radio enthusiasts found that the first wave of early adoption of the new service was among highly dissatisfied AM/FM radio listeners, most of whom had already abandoned traditional radio for their own CD and MP3 recordings. When asked to describe the best thing about satellite radio subscribers mentioned the variety of music and programming, the continuous signal across the United States and lack of commercials.

Book and Grady developed the idea for the study early in 2004, when XMSR and Sirius Radio were already providing more than 1.5 million customers imported, national radio content via satellite. "Much like the 1990s launch of DirecTV and the Dish Network," they wrote in their proposal, "broadcasters are faced with new competition and early warning signs suggest this fight will be a tough one." When they began their work, the academic community had not yet turned its attention to this new medium, and as a result little was known about satellite radio consumers. Their study illuminates the issues tied to consumer adoption of satellite radio, exploring the characteristics of the diffusion of the service, and more specifically how satellite radio adoption impacts the subscriber's relationship with local radio.

The data collected during the study offers broadcasters important background and serious numbers on which to base decisions as they attempt to understand how the introduction of satellite radio will impact their respective markets.

Book and Grady write in their executive summary: "While the number of satellite radio subscribers is significantly lower than the 230 million weekly radio listeners enjoyed by terrestrial AM/FM radio (Arbitron, 2005), the early positive response to satellite radio raises important questions about the status of AM/FM radio, the audience adopting satellite radio, the impact such adoption has and will have on AM/FM radio, as well as, the important cultural, economic and public policy implications associated with new radio distribution systems. This study examined a subset of early adopters of satellite radio, described as satellite radio 'enthusiasts' and examined their dynamic relationship with AM/FM radio."

Nearly 500 respondents completed their online survey. They found the respondents to be predominantly white, male and young. They found that satellite radio enthusiasts are heavy users of other media technology and twice as likely to be satellite television subscribers. Most of the respondents currently subscribe to XM Satellite Radio, however 10 percent of the satellite radio enthusiasts subscribe to both XM and SIRIUS. AM/FM radio's commercial loads and formula based, limited content were cited as the compelling reasons to adopt satellite radio.

To download a PDF of the Book and Grady study, "Consumer Adoption of New Radio Distribution Systems," please click on the link below.

Satellite Radio report



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Last Modified:  8/25/05
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