Survey: Listeners stick with terrestrial radio


NEW YORK -- The first Arbitron survey for satellite radio shows its customers spend much more time listening to the radio than non-subscribers -- but also indicates those customers spend more time tuned into terrestrial radio than their pay services.

In total, about 3.4% of radio listening time was spent on satellite stations, with Arbitron reporting Wednesday in its fall survey that listeners cited 297 different channels from Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. and XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.

The average satellite radio station attracted listeners for .009% of the 15-minute measuring blocks, a figure that would not be high enough to make Arbitron's minimum reporting standards for terrestrial radio, the company said.

"Satellite radio is growing," said Chance Patterson, spokesman for XM. "However, we still represent a small portion of the overall radio and audio entertainment marketplace."

A spokeswoman for Sirius did not return a phone call for comment.

Satellite radio listeners spent an average of 33 hours per week listening to the radio, compared with an average 19 hours a week for those with AM/FM radio, the numbers showed. But the subscribers listened to terrestrial radio 14 hours a week, compared with a little less than 11 hours with satellite and a little more than 8 hours on the Internet, Arbitron reported.

At this point, Arbitron can't estimate listeners for specific satellite channels, meaning there are still no ratings available for satellite stars like Howard Stern of Sirius or Opie and Anthony of XM. The international media and marketing research firm measures network and local market radio audiences.

According to Arbitron, about 5.6% of the 468,786 participants in its fall survey listed a satellite radio channel in their listening diaries.

XM boasts 7.63 million subscribers, while Sirius broke the 6 million mark. Sirius recently announced plans to acquire XM.
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