Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

It’s that time of year again – when our thoughts turn to the holidays, family, gift-giving, and thankfulness.

But as our two companies – Jacobs Media and jācapps – have learned over the past eight years or so, the holidays also signify a noticeable bump in the way consumers use gadgetry they receive as gifts.

It started with smartphones, specifically the iPhone. We couldn’t help but notice a sharp rise in app downloads throughout much of December continuing into early January. 

Smart radio and television stations with mobile apps took advantage of the opportunity, ramping up promos drawing attention to their applications. As recipients of bright, shiny new phones found out, a station app is great way to break in their new iPhone or Android model.

And this holiday season will be no exception.  Google’s Pixel 2 is already being heavily marketed, while iPhone has introduced three new phones – 8, 8+, and the very high-end X (known as “10”) to celebrate a decade of iPhone addiction.

If your radio or TV stations have their own individual or aggregated apps, making sure to keep your audience aware and alerted is a sure way to generate downloads – and of course, usage.

But then there’s the hottest tech category, predicted to be the “stocking stuffer” go-to item this year: Smart speakers

But you probably know this platform better as “Alexa,” the voice of Amazon’s wildly successful Echo line.

Last year, Amazon reported its sales of the Echo and smaller Dot devices grew nine times over the previous holiday season.  And this year could go even higher, thanks to interest in these gadgets, as well as the millions of members of Amazon Prime.

In our nationwide Techsurvey fielded in January/February of this year, more than 1 in 10 respondents told us they own one of these devices.  As you can see in the chart below, interest in smart speakers spans genders, generations, and ethnicity:

Subsequent research also shows more and more consumers adding multiple devices to their at-home and at-work smart speaker arsenals.

That spells opportunity for broadcasters who have designed “skills” for Echo. Google is in the game also with their Google Home, and Apple’s version will be released before Santa arrives. But right now, Amazon has an estimated 70-share of the smart speaker market.  Right now, they’re the one to bet on.

People use Alexa to get the news, listen to music and radio, hear the weather, and myriad other bits and pieces of entertainment and information. Our research shows an increasingly higher number of consumers who frequently or occasionally use voice commands on their phones, in their cars, and of course, on smart speakers.

So when things begin to slow down in December, make sure your station focuses time, attention, and promotional firepower on encouraging your audience to engage with you on smartphones and smart speakers. 

They’ll be excited about their new toys, you’ll have their attention, and it’s a great chance to prove once again that for radio and TV, it’s a most wonderful time of the year.

Fred Jacobs
President, Jacobs Media

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