Hub: Streaming Video Among Top Mass Transit Content Choices

Streaming video is one of the key content choices for consumers while traveling on mass transit, according to new data from Hub Entertainment Research.

When traveling by mass transportation, streaming video captured the attention of nearly 50% of all commuters, according to the study.

Still, Hub found that while digital options are increasingly important, legacy media such as broadcast radio still dominates for those driving a car. 

The results are based on a November 2022 survey of 2,566 U.S. consumers.

“Traditional radio is surprisingly resilient in the car, where it has been king for many years,” David Tice, senior consultant to Hub and author of the study, said in a statement. “But we see digital media — particularly streaming music and audio services — have made great inroads into the media habits of commuters and travelers, which is likely to continue as in-car integration and access during other travel modes becomes simpler and cheaper.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Aside from over-the-air (OTA) and satellite radio, digital content makes up three of the top five media sources used by drivers: paid streaming music services, free streaming music services, and personal music downloaded onto smartphones or tablets. Lesser used in-vehicle digital media include podcasts and audiobooks.

Users of mass transit (buses, trains, subways, ferries) use a number of digital media options along with OTA radio. Similarly to cars, personal music and free/pay streaming music services are in the top five used on mass transit, but so are free streaming video services.

Almost two in three drivers (63%) say they use OTA radio “every” or “most” times they drive, with one in six listening to an OTA simulcast via streaming. An OTA radio is the media device most likely to influence choice of a new car, with 39% saying they’re more likely to buy a car if it has an OTA radio, compared with runners-up satellite radio (31%) and Apple CarPlay (27%), the latter showing consumers desire for aggregating media services overall. 

Music and talk radio (sports, politics, or other) are more likely to be consumed when someone is driving.  Audiobooks and podcasts — perhaps because they command more attention — are somewhat more likely to be used by those riding mass transit. News and weather are equally likely to be used in both scenarios.

On airlines, the medium most often used are books (37% of flyers use them “every”/”most” times they fly), with personal music collections ranking No. 2 (33%). 

Streaming Music Service Spotify Begins Selling Audiobooks

Spotify, the world’s largest streaming music service, Sept. 20 began offering more than 300,000 audiobook titles to its users to purchase.

The Stockholm-based platform with 182 million subscribers and 422 million monthly users worldwide, said users in the U.S. have access to a brand-new user interface that’s geared specifically for listening to audiobooks and fits alongside the music and podcasts links.

“We’ve been saying for a while now that our ambition is to be the complete package for everyone’s listening needs,” Nir Zicherman, VP, global head of audiobooks and gated content at Spotify, said in a media interview.

While audiobooks represent just a 6% to 7% share of the wider book market, the category, like podcasts, is growing by 20% year over year, according to Zicherman, who believes the platform can help introduce audiobooks to an audience of consumers who may never have tried them otherwise.

Major audiobook competitors include Amazon, Apple and Google.

“We see a substantial untapped market,” he said.

Audiobooks will show up with a lock icon on the play button, signaling that they need to be purchased in order to listen. Spotify app users will be able to purchase them on a Web page and the book will be automatically saved in their library and available to listen to whenever they want.

Listeners can download content for offline listening, and the automatic bookmarking feature saves their place so they can pick up where they left off. Speed control is also included, with a variety of options to speed up or slow down the pace. And for listeners who want to share their opinion after listening to a book, there’s a rating feature, which will display the aggregate rating of the book on social media platforms.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“The offering available today in the U.S. is just the first iteration of audiobooks on Spotify,” Zicherman said. “We’ll learn a lot through this launch and leverage those learnings as we enhance the experience with new features, plan for launches in additional markets, and innovate on the format to benefit listeners, authors and publishers.”

Launched in 2006, Spotify posted a €39 million ($38.8 million) loss on revenue of €9.66 billion ($9.63 billion) in 2021, the latter up 22% increase from the previous-year period. The company has never posted a fiscal profit.

Apple Q2 Services Revenue Increases 31%

Apple May 2 reported second-quarter (ended March 31) “services” revenue of $9.1 billion, which was up 31% from revenue of $7 billion during the previous-year period.

Services includes revenue from digital content and services (i.e. iTunes Store selling/renting movies, TV shows, audiobooks and music); Apple Music subscription service, AppleCare (warranty), Apple Pay, App Store, licensing and other services.

Through six months, revenue is up 24% to $17.6 billion, compared to $14.2 billion last year. Services revenue represented 15% of total revenue in the quarter compared to 13% in the previous-year period. The segment generated 12% of total revenue through six months, compared to 11% last year.

Apple attributed the increase primarily licensing, App Store and iCloud – not digital content sales. Indeed, last summer The Wall Street Journal reported iTunes’ market share selling/renting video content had dropped below 25% from above 50% in 2012.

The decline is due in part to increased SVOD use among consumers, in addition to increased competition from Amazon Instant Video and Comcast – the latter the first pay-TV operator to sell/rent movies and TV shows.

Meanwhile, Apple sold $38 billion worth of iPhones, $4.1 billion in iPads and $5.8 billion in Mac computers, which was up 14% and 6%, respectively, for iPhones and iPads. Mac sales remained flat.