NPR recently released data showing that between 8AM and 10AM, over 8000 listeners are using the iPhone app to tune in to NPR. The numbers drop down to around 6000 by noon, and level off for the rest of the day. The graph shows average hourly unique visitors over a two week period in the summer. What’s interesting is that although the mobile web, Android app and even the iPad app show a rise in average unique visits in the morning, the increase is not nearly as dramatic as among iPhone users.
The numbers don’t indicate where listeners are using the app. On your morning commute if you are underground on a subway, you’re not going to be getting any wireless signal to your iPhone, so these listeners are on the bus, walking, or in their cars. And although there is some speculation that iPhone users are listening to the app in their car rather than simply turning on the radio, it seems unlikely. According to The Infinite Dial published by Edison Research, only 6% of Americans have streamed audio from their mobile phones to their car stereos.
Regardless of where they are, iPhone users account for the bulk of NPR’s mobile audience. Other national broadcasters such as the BBC, or the CBC with their own iPhone apps may have similar data to show in the future. BBC’s iPlayer app data released in January 2010 shows an increase in usage for radio at noon, but doesn’t differentiate mobile app access from desktop. Radio requests from iPhone account for just over 3% of all streams.
So what are you using your iPhone for on your morning commute? Are you streaming radio, or listening to your own music or podcasts? Let us know in the comments!