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Study also reveals that significant challenges from digital options loom

COLUMBIA, MD, September 15, 2011 – In the face of a rapidly changing in-car landscape, broadcast radio dominates the choices for information and entertainment in the car, according to the new national survey from Arbitron Inc. (NYSE: ARB), Edison Research, and Scarborough Research titled The Road Ahead: Media and Entertainment in the Car. At the same time, there is significant interest in the many new digital entertainment and information options for driving that are being developed. The Road Ahead was debuted this morning at The Radio Show, hosted by the National Association of Broadcasters and the Radio Advertising Bureau in Chicago.

The Road Ahead, conducted in July 2011, looks at consumer usage of sixteen different in-car media and entertainment choices. The study also weighs consumer interest in newly introduced “telematics” features. Telematics technology enables a variety of applications that share data between the vehicle and information and entertainment networks.

The Road Ahead updates a similar study conducted in 2003, to provide a unique look at the changes and challenges in the in-car landscape over the past eight years, combined with a peek into the future of this crucial media space.

Key findings of The Road Ahead: Media and Entertainment in the Car:

  • AM/FM radio continues to be the top choice for in-car media and entertainment, with 84 percent of all drivers or passengers reporting use of AM/FM radio in-car -- compared to the next highest device, the CD player, at 68 percent.
  • When share of time spent while driving is measured, AM/FM radio dominates with nearly two-thirds of all ‘in-car time’ (64 percent). The CD player is in second place at 21 percent; all other devices combined make up 15 percent.
  • While various digital options such as satellite radio and connecting one’s iPod to the car system remain rather small, they are growing and very well-loved by those who use them.
  • In-car AM/FM radio usage is strongest in the key buying demos it has long targeted, reaching nearly 90 percent of adults age 25 to 54.
  • One in four (24 percent) persons age 18 and older have used their iPod/MP3 player to listen to audio in their car; more than half (55 percent) of 18-24s have done so.
  • Six percent of persons age 18 and older and one in five persons aged 18 to 24 (19 percent) have listened to Pandora on their cell phone in the car.
  • There is a high level of interest in newly developed vehicle telematics. More than 60 percent say they are interested in accident response features, stolen vehicle recovery systems, parked vehicle tampering alerts, and remote car unlocking capability.
  • There is also significant consumer interest in several in-car media applications: 41 percent are interested in pause, rewind and replay functionality for radio in-car and 40 percent are interested in built-in wireless internet for the car.
  • “AM/FM radio has remained strong in a much more complex in-car media landscape and continues to be the first choice of consumers for in-car entertainment and information,” said Bill Rose, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Arbitron Inc.

“We are at the dawn of another wave of in-car media and entertainment options,” said Larry Rosin, President, Edison Research. “In 2003 we looked at the in-car environment just as iPods, GPS, and satellite radio were starting and these devices have now become more widely used. Today telematics and other in-car media options are bringing new capabilities that have captured substantial interest among consumers.”

"Our study shows that radio has the greatest number of passionate users," said Mark Manders, Senior Vice President of Operations, Scarborough Research. "By leveraging its unique content and adapting to new in-car distribution platforms, radio has an opportunity to maintain its in-car advantage into the future."

How the study was conducted

A total of 1,505 persons ages 18+ were interviewed in July 2011 to investigate Americans’ use of in-car media and information. The telephone interviews were conducted among previous Scarborough Research respondents, age 18 and older, chosen at random from a national sample.

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