HD Radio "knowledge gap" continues with consumers


New research by Mark Kassof & Co. reveals a continued “knowledge gap” among consumers on HD Radio. 54% of 18-64’s have “heard of” HD Radio…down from 67% in their 2008 HD research (though higher than 38% in 2006). Included in that 54%, however, is 16% who have only heard of HD Radio and don’t know anything about it…essentially equal to what Kassof found in 2008 (14%).

The #1 image of HD Radio is that it delivers better audio quality. 20% express that view–essentially flat from 2008 (21%). But for many, better quality sound is not something they actually know about HD Radio…instead, they tell the company, it’s something they infer based only on their knowledge of HDTV.

They also found other indicators of a continued knowledge gap. Only 8% say HD Radio delivers more channels and choices…identical to 2008. And 6% have the misconception that HD Radio is satellite radio…again, essentially flat from 2008 (7%).

The research findings are based on 670 telephone interviews in the U.S., conducted from January 4-8, 2012. The survey’s margin of error is +/-4%.

Said Mark Kassof, President: “The results show a decline in awareness and zero progress in listeners’ understanding of HD radio. The industry still has much work to do promoting HD radio and selling its benefits.”

RBR-TVBR observation: With all of the advertising The HD Digital Radio Alliance and broadcasters have run over the past few years, one would think the awareness would have been improved. But the consumers today are focused on mobile and internet. They’re not buying radios, they’re buying smartphones and tablets. Awareness of apps like iHeartRadio and Pandora are boosted by word-of-mouth and social media, something HD Radio has not been able to capitalize on thus far. The hope is that the additional automakers of late adding HD Radio to their sound systems will move the needle.