Radio Makes Happy Media Consumers + AOL Radio Relaunches

Vintage Red RadioRadio listeners are happier than consumers of any other type of media, according to the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB). The industry association recently released the results of a study that it commissioned, which also indicated that people consuming media of any type were generally happy than those consuming no media. That result was true whether respondents were referring to listening to the radio, watching television, or using online media. (Oddly, the survey did not include questions related to print media.)

The study, “Media And The Mood Of The Nation,” was conducted by Sparkler research company that polled 1,000 people in the United Kingdom. Respondents were asked to keep a one-week record of which media they were using and to rate their mood on a scale of one to five. Participants were then given more in-depth interviews.

Radio listeners reported the highest levels of happiness overall, claiming to be 100% happier on average, while TV watchers rated themselves 62% happier, and Internet users rated themselves 69% happier. Radio listeners also reported having 300% more energy, while TV watchers rated themselves as having 180% more, and Internet users rated themselves as having 220% more. Mark Barber, planning director for RAB, said, “Our latest research highlights the immense potential of radio to influence emotions, in turn, offering a huge boost to advertisers seeking emotional engagement to build their brands.”

The research also indicated that the biggest mood enhancer for people was to listen to the radio while doing activities online. It makes sense, then, that media companies are looking for a way to combine the two — one of the oldest pieces of media technology with one of the newest, if you will.

As such, The AOL Huffington Post Media Group recently announced that it will relaunch AOL Radio in late summer, delivering radio both online and through mobile devices. The company has also moved from former partner CBS Radio to Slacker, Inc. for the relaunch. According to the press release,

AOL Radio will offer an enhanced radio experience with fewer ads, new personalization features and premium subscription offerings. The new service will deliver three product tiers to users: the free AOL Radio service, along with ad-free and feature-rich radio and on-demand premium subscription tiers with personalization and customization powered by Slacker.

AOL’s partnership with Slacker Inc. will provide access to ad-free radio and enable users to create tailored radio stations, save favorite songs and stations, read album reviews, access artist biographies, review station histories, increase song skipping capabilities and much more, depending on the tier of service selected. The partnership will enable Slacker to deliver its new radio offerings to a larger audience, allow AOL Radio and Slacker to develop new advertising opportunities for mutual clients and integrate AOL Music’s original editorial voice across all its services.

The new player will host AOL’s 250 original music stations, plus new Slacker programming including ESPN Radio and ABC News Radio. The relaunch will include a newer version of its award-winning iPhone app, which has been downloaded more than three million times, and will add Android and other platforms during the relaunch. AOL Radio already claims about three million unique visitors per month, who listen to about 30 million hours of music, according to AOL Music chief Jeff Bronikowski.

Upon the new player’s launch, Slacker will lead the advertising sales. Slacker also recently announced another partnership — with TargetSpot, the largest digital audio advertising network — to coordinate advertising on AOL Radio.

Meanwhile, CBS, AOL Radio’s former partner, is focusing on its own online radio product, and recently incorporated Last.fm into CBS Interactive. David Goodman, music president of CBS Interactive, said, “We’ll be winding down our distribution agreement with [AOL Radio] over the next 75-100 days, and will focus on continued organic growth.” AOL Radio partnered with CBS in 2007, shortly after AOL sold its monthly music-subscription service to Napster.

Source: “Be Happy … Listen To The Radio Says U.K.’s RAB,” All Access, 06/28/11
Source: “Want to feel good? Get a radio,” IOL Lifestyle, 06/30/11
Source: “AOL Announces Partnership with Slacker Inc. to Deliver Enhanced Online Radio Listening Experience,” AOL press release, 06/28/11
Source: “AOL Radio switches from CBS to Slacker,” Radio Business Report, 06/28/11
Source: “TargetSpot and Slacker Partner to Deliver Digital Audio Ads to AOL Radio Listeners,” Virtual-Strategy Magazine, 07/12/11
Image by masochismtango (Tom Godber), used under its Creative Commons license.

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