With online music streaming service MOG about to be supplanted by the mobile-only Beats Music subscription platform, partner Telstra is in position to reconfigure its offering to younger, tech-savvy music-lovers. But is targeting these early adopters really the best way for Telstra to go?
In the last quarter of 2013, 1.65 million Australians 14+ (8.5%) streamed music on their mobile phone in an average four weeks, the latest research from Roy Morgan shows.
Currently, Telstra Next G customers who subscribe to MOG receive unmetered music streaming from the service—saving potentially gigabytes of monthly mobile broadband data usage.
However despite Telstra being the only telco to offer unmetered streaming, its mobile customers are less likely than those with Optus, Vodafone or Virgin to stream music on their phones.
Mobile users with Optus are the most likely to stream music (10.6%), just ahead of Vodafone (10.5%) and Virgin (10.2%)—even though any such streaming would count toward data usage.
But while just 7.3% of Telstra’s mobile phone customers stream music, this still equates to 553,000 people, almost 200,000 more than nearest rival Optus.
Streaming Music among Telecommunications Service Providers:
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October – December 2013; Australians 14+ n = 4113
Music streaming via mobile phone is still comparatively young—and so are those most likely to do it. 73% of people who stream music via their phone are under 34. But less than half of Telstra’s mobile phone customers (49%) are under 34, compared with 61% of Optus’s, 64% of Virgin’s and 69% of Vodafone’s.
As smartphones become mainstream (and content streaming follows suit) the demographic spread will flatten. In the US, rather than target early-adopting younger people—who may have already developed loyalties to other music streaming services—telco giant AT&T partnered with Beats Music to offer a ‘family plan’ subscription that allows up to five users to stream songs on multiple devices.
In Australia, Telstra has yet to confirm if a similar exclusive subscription package will be available for its Next G customers, and if it will continue MOG-style unmetered content.
Unlike most other music streaming services including Spotify, Rdio, Google Play (and indeed MOG), Beats Music will initially only be available on mobile devices, not desktop computers. The service, part of rapper Dr Dre’s expanding empire, aims to curate ideal playlists for users based on who you are, whom you’re with, your mood and preferred genre.
Tim Martin, Digital Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:
“Mobile phones are no longer just phones: they are stereos, televisions, newspapers and magazines. By partnering with content providers such as Beats Music, fetch TV and Fairfax, telcos can offer something to current and potential customers far beyond free texts and minutes or cheap data plans.
“Content streaming is still more prevalent among younger ‘Metrotech’ households in metro areas, as well as younger but lower-income family households ‘Getting By’.
“Over half a million Telstra mobile customers stream music on their phones, but this still represents a lower proportion of its customers than those with Optus, Vodafone or Virgin.
“With so many music streaming services now available, it remains to be seen if a 24-year-old will choose a Telstra mobile plan just to get an unmetered Beats Music subscription. Perhaps, with a customer base of middle income families, Telstra should adopt AT&T’s exclusive family plan concept so mum, dad and the kids can each stream their own music on their phones. Perhaps mum and dad won’t think of it—but their kids will be asking for Telstra.”
Roy Morgan Research
Roy Morgan Research is Australia’s best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
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