Mobiles users tune-in to the radio

Mobiles users tune-in to the radio

Use of radio via mobile surges 140 per cent in 12 months

Music applications have become the fastest growing services on mobile phones, acording to new market research.

The TNS Global Telecoms Insight study said that the use of MP3 players on mobile phones rose by 78 per cent last year, but that radio via mobile went up by 140 per cent.

Growth has occurred in all 29 countries surveyed, particularly in Latin America and emerging Asia regions, where 45 per cent of users list FM/AM radio as one of their top three choices for purchasing a mobile phone.

"Radio-enabled mobiles take away the need to have a separate music device like an MP3 player and should lead phone manufacturers to win the battle for control of the earphones," said Matthew Froggatt, managing director of TNS's Global Technology sector.

"The increased use of radio in the Asian markets is also extremely important. It is driving a whole new wave of customers to service providers and has huge implications for spreading media communications to a wider audience more quickly."

Two thirds of people aged 16 to 21 now listen to some form of mobile music on the go, but it is also surprisingly popular with more senior generations. The study shows that 20 per cent of people aged 51 to 60 tune in to music on their handsets.

Globally, 43 per cent of all mobile users and 73 per cent of smartphone users now listen to some form of mobile music.

"The radio is a hugely underrated media tool which has suffered at the hands of TV music channels and the internet. This new outlet through mobile phones may help to sustain its life well into this millennium," added Froggatt.

However, the report warns that the music industry needs to be cautious of seeing this as a money-spinner, as 22 per cent of global users now load music onto their phone from a PC, compared to just 16 per cent who download directly.

Many consumers already have music libraries in a digital format and are often put off downloading directly to their mobile because of high price perceptions.

Using the phone as a music player gives device manufacturers an opportunity to increase consumer involvement with their products, but for network operators and music rights owners incremental revenue growth through downloading may be limited.

"For the networks, enhanced real-time data services, like mobile internet or location-specific information, may be a better bet to increase consumer spend," concluded Froggatt.