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Is Radio Listening Set To Be Hurt By New Voice Activated Speakers?

As Australians take to voice activated speakers several sound brands as well as mass brands such as Apple and Amazon have moved to deliver a new generation of speakers for both audio interaction and music playing, but the big question now is what device will Australians use to interact with voice technology, and will it impact sales of radio?

In the U.S., about 43 million people — 18 percent of Americans aged 18 and older — now own a smart speaker with the same penetration tipped for Australia during the next 18 months.

A recent “Smart Audio Report” from NPR and Edison Research claims that 25 percent of early adopters, said that smart speakers were the primary device they use to listen to content, compared to 17 percent who favour AM/FM radio and 23 percent who use either their smartphone or tablet to listen to content.

The most popular option is actually the smartphone/tablet at 26 percent, followed by smart speakers at 22 percent, and AM/FM radio at 17 percent.

While some in the radio industry are optimistic about smart speakers, others are concerned that the technology is displacing listeners who will not tune in via a different platform.

40 percent of early adopters and 45 percent of mainstream users said their smart speaker was replacing the time they had previously spent listening to traditional AM/FM radio.

63 percent of early adopters and 70 percent of the mainstream group agreed that they have been listening to more audio since they got the smart speaker.

The “Smart Audio Report” also explored attitudes toward different types of advertising.

The most popular type appears to be the skills or features created by brands; 22 percent said they like them, and 59 percent said they don’t mind them. TV commercials appear to be the most hated — 45 percent said they don’t like them and only 6 percent like them.

However, ad breaks on commercial radio aren’t popular, either; 42 percent said they dislike them and 8 percent like them, with 50 percent who are ambivalent.

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