Speaking at the D: All Things Digital conference, NPR CEO Vivian Schiller made two predictions:
In 5-10 years Internet radio will replace broadcast radio.
One day all cars will have Internet radio of some form.
She noted along the way that 40% of weekday listening is in the car.
Her Predictions, however, just don’t add up.
Last year, 10.4 million cars were sold in the US. GM predicts that about 12 million cars will be sold this year. There are slightly fewer than 140 million registered cars in the US, out of a total of 250 million registered vehicles.
That means it will take at least 12 years to replace all the cars on the road today.
It is anybody’s guess how many of those new cars will have docking stations or built-in Internet access. GM’s OnStar has 5 million subscribers. That tells us that not a lot of people want to pay a monthly fee to be constantly connected.
Analysts predict that AT&T will sell 15.8 million iPhones this year. That suggests that more people are likely to use some sort of smart phone docking arrangement than pay a separate fee for car Internet access.
How many smart phone owners are going to buy a car in the next five years, or ten? Even if a quarter of iPhone and Android users buy a car in the coming years, it will take decades for most people to have convenient Internet access in their car.
If 40% of listening is done in the car, and it will be decades before the majority of cars have Internet access, how can Internet radio replace broadcast radio in 5-10 years ? It isn't likely in 20 years, let alone 10 years.
Maybe Ms. Schiller was just talking about NPR listeners. Most NPR listeners probably already own an iPhone and replace their Mercedes or BMW every couple of years. We wrote about them not too long ago here.