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Public Internet Consumer Insight Study. WKSU u Market Trends Research Inc u CPB. Partner stations WUNC Chapel Hill, NC Michigan Radio Ann Arbor, MI KPBS San Diego, CA WKSU Cleveland/Akron, OH. Research Partners PRPD Public Radio Program Directors DEI Development Exchange Inc

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Public InternetConsumer Insight Study

WKSU u Market Trends Research Inc u CPB

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Partner stations

WUNCChapel Hill, NC

Michigan RadioAnn Arbor, MI

KPBSSan Diego, CA

WKSUCleveland/Akron, OH

Research Partners

PRPDPublic Radio Program Directors

DEIDevelopment Exchange Inc

PRIPublic Radio International

NPRNational Public Radio

Public InternetConsumer Insight Study

CPB Future Fund Grant

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Public InternetConsumer Insight Study

  • Research objectives:

    • What content do listeners use on a public radio Web site? What content do they wish they could use? How does public radio fit into their online universe?

    • How did listeners learn about the public radio Website? What would influence them or others to return?

    • Has the Web influenced how much and/or why they listen to public radio? Might it in the future?

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Public InternetConsumer Insight Study

  • Research objectives:

    • What are the acceptable limits and thresholds of e-commerce and advertising on public radio Web sites?

    • What is the impact of the Web on individual giving, now and in the near future. Can / should the Web site provide value-added to givers?

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Public InternetConsumer Insight Study

  • A project in two phases:

    • Focus groups conducted in Summer 2000

    • Survey conducted in Spring 2001

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It’s “National Public Radio,”not “National Public Website.”

--Michigan Radio survey respondent

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PICISSurvey Demographics

  • Must listen to public radio

  • Must have an e-mail address

  • Must use the Internet, not just e-mail

  • WKSU, WUNC, Michigan Radio, & KPBS listeners

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PICISSurvey Demographics

  • About half male and half female

  • 2 in 3 are 25 - 54

  • Over 50% have advanced degrees

  • 3 in 4 consider themselves core listeners

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PICISInternet usage

  • 56% Using Internet 5 years or more

  • 86% Using Internet 3 years or more

  • 23% spend 11 or more hours online [not including e-mail] per week

  • 30% spend 3 hours or less online per week

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PICISInternet usage

  • 32% have shopped or paid bills online more than ten times in the last six months

  • 14% have never shopped or paid bills online

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PICISOnline audio usage

  • 11% listen to their public station streamed on the Net

  • 18% listen to any online radio or online audio

  • 89% listen to public radio exclusively over the radio

  • 82% do not listen to any online audio

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  • The more an e-commerce opportunity is perceived as directly relating to programming, the greater its acceptance by listeners.

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  • “As long as it’s associated with something with a show, as long as they don’t turn into, that’s OK.”

  • “This is Michigan Radio selling products specifically to support radio; I think it’s a big difference, they’re advertising their own store rather than somebody else’s; they’re not compromising their principles.”

  • “It doesn’t bother me that they sell things, in this case, they’re selling music, books or items that have been on their program, that doesn’t bother me.”

As heard on

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  • “They’re not a commercial radio station, now they’re practicing commercial radio practices.”

  • “What does this have to do with anything????!!!!”

  • “If they’re making $2 off a garden tool, I’d rather give them $102 instead of $100.”

  • “After this, they’re going to start selling salmon!”

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PICISE-commerce v. on-air

  • 66% feel “it is okay for stations to raise funds by selling items of interest to listeners”

  • 11% think this is a terrible idea.

  • 67% feel “selling items on their web sites is a fair trade off”

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PICISIntegrity issues

  • Listeners fear that the pursuit of online e-commerce revenue will cause us to violate our core values and principles.

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PICISIntegrity issues

  • E-commerce influence on editorial decision-making.

  • Change in importance of listener dollars.

  • Squandering of resources.

  • 44% of listeners feel increased Internet revenue would damage editorial credibility.

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PICISE-commerce privacy and security

  • 90% of respondents feel information privacy is an important consideration.

  • 90% of respondents feel credit card security is equally important.

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PICISOther good policy choices

Clearly display:

  • Specific information on how much of sale goes to station.

  • Return policy

  • Statement on quality of merchandise

  • Information of the company that will fulfill the order.

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PICISE-commerce verbatims

  • “If your web site is an extension of your on-air programming, we would like it to reflect that and not have it turn into an online store.”

  • “Selling items online is tacit endorsement. WKSU should avoid this. Products related to programming which are things which WKSU and NPR endorse are acceptable for sale.”

  • “To assume that product hustling is not going to influence programming decisions is disingenuous to say the least.”

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PICISE-commerce verbatims

  • “Privacy, privacy, privacy! Please keep my name off mailing or emailing lists, even for other non-profits.”

  • “I know public radio needs money, but if you go this route please don’t kill us with useless junk and propaganda.”

  • “Let’s not forget what makes public radio different from other businesses—the “do the right thing integrity”—they don’t sell out, they are not (Thank goodness) homogenized white bread like so many other companies have become because of money. Public radio is the last bastion of true good sophisticated humor and insight.”

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PICISOnline advertising

  • “If they’re going to underwrite [online], do it subtly and attractively.”

  • “I know public radio needs money, but if you go this route please don’t kill us with useless junk and propaganda.”

    • WKSU and Michigan Radio listener comments

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PICISOnline advertising

  • 72% - A bad idea for Website

  • 7% - A good idea for Website

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PICISOnline advertising

  • 65% - A bad idea for Website

  • 13% - A good idea for Website

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PICISOnline advertising

  • 45% - A good idea for Website

  • 35% - A bad idea for Website

  • 17% - Neutral or undecided

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PICISOnline advertising

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PICISOnline advertising

  • The more that any ad, credit, or recognition of business support on a station Website matches the characteristics of underwriting, the greater acceptance it will receive from listeners

  • Online underwriting should parallel on-air underwriting

  • Maintain the same values online and offline

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PICISOnline advertising

  • Type or Category of Underwriter

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PICISOnline advertising

  • Type or Category of Underwriter

  • Visual Content & Size

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PICISOnline advertising

  • Type or Category of Underwriter

  • Visual Content

  • Use of Language

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PICISOnline advertising

  • “I certainly wouldn’t have any problem with it [underwriting] on a website to the degree that it’s on public radio.”

  • “Most of the time, advertising is trying to push, subliminally or otherwise. Underwriting doesn’t do this, it [just describes] what the company stands for.”

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PICISOnline advertising

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PICISOnline ads v. air pledge and underwriting

  • “I would find it [underwriting] less intrusive on the Website; if it’s on the radio, you have to hear it.”

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PICISOnline ads v. air pledge and underwriting

  • On-air membership campaigns:

    • 68% good idea, 16% bad idea

  • On-air underwriting :

    • 63% good idea, 22% bad idea

  • Online Underwriting :

    • 55% good idea, 22% bad idea

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PICISOnline ads v. air pledge and underwriting

  • On-air membership campaigns:

    • 84% appropriate, 8% not appropriate

  • On-air underwriting:

    • 73% appropriate, 13% not appropriate

  • Website underwriting:

    • 73% appropriate, 14% not appropriate

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PICISIntegrity issues

Will Business Support Influence Programming Decisions?

  • 47% concerned ON AIR underwriting might influence programming

  • 44% concerned ONLINE underwriting might influence programming

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PICISIntegrity issues

Should the Website Be Used to Help Support Programming & Itself?

  • 50% agree stations should have online underwriting to pay for programming

  • 57% agree online underwriting is a fair trade off for keeping the Web site free

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PICISIntegrity issues

I trust that [local station/NPR] will not allow businesses who support with underwriting announcements to influence programming decisions.

  • 67% agreed that they trust local stations not to be unduly influenced by businesses that underwrite

  • 64% agreed that they trust NPR not to be unduly influenced by businesses that underwrite

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PICISIntegrity issues

  • “Most of the world now is saturated with advertising, I’d like to see some stronghold that isn’t.”

  • “The commercialization of just about every facet of American life is one reason I listen to public radio.”

  • “The station’s approach [to fund raising] should be consistent across all media.”

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  • Every order supports WKSU clearly stated

  • Help button in top of screen

  • Privacy, credit card, and order fulfillment information on help page.

  • Information on products not linked to programs.

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  • Station benefit and credit card not clearly stated.

  • No privacy policy.

  • No link between product and programming.

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No examples of:

  • Station policies about the “firewall” between e-commerce activities and editorial policy.

  • Information about policies, quality of merchandise, or return policies that were not buried in FAQ at least two links away from product.

  • Specific levels of support station receives from transaction.

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PICISHonorary Mention

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PICISAre listeners willing to pay for our web sites?


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If you put a price tag on a station web site, what would it be?


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PICISNext session preview

In the next session:

  • Would listeners visit more often is the site simply loaded quicker?

  • Which draws more listeners: customized version of NPR programs or a simple program grid?

  • Which service do Internet-audio savvy listeners listen to more online: NPR or CNN?

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PICISNext session preview

  • Which is the “true dud” of public radio web sites?

    • Discussion forums

    • Streaming audio

    • Chat rooms

  • What is more important to listeners

    • Community events calendar

    • Bios and pictures of NPR hosts

  • Your most powerful online opportunity is not your web site.

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PICISNext session preview

  • The single phrase that would make 4 out of 5 listeners more willing to pledge online.

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PICISWeb site

Contains a copy of this presentation, PICIS research materials, and all findings released as part of the study.

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Public InternetConsumer Insight Study


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Public InternetConsumer Insight Study

WKSU u Market Trends Research u CPB