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MP3-CD, MiniDisc Portables Advertising On Upswing

Retail advertising of headphone MP3-CD players and MiniDisc players grew dramatically in the first three quarters of last year as retailers and suppliers leveraged the growing popularity and awareness of Internet-audio formats.

In its survey of ads in more than 90 U.S. newspapers and catalogs, Beyen found that MP3-CD and MiniDisc portables appeared in advertising 10,653 times in the first three quarters, up 36.5 percent from the year-ago period. MP3-CD portables accounted for 64 percent of those ads, down from a 73.5 percent share during the year-ago period, Beyen found. The ad share of MD players, which have been repositioned as Internet audio players, rose to 35.6 percent from 26.5 percent, based on an 82.8 percent surge in MD ad frequency during the period, Beyen’s statistics show. MP3-CD ad frequency, in contrast, grew only 19.7 percent during the period.

The statistics also show that the frequency of MP3-CD and MD advertising fell short of the rate at which retailers advertised flash-memory and hard-disc-drive music portables. The ad frequency of these devices hit 12,705 during that period.

The brand most often advertised by retailers was Sony, whose MD and MP3-CD players accounted for 56 percent of the devices advertised in the three-quarter period. The next highest ad share was held by Panasonic with only a 10 percent share, followed by Philips with 7 percent, Audio Phase with 7 percent, Sonic Blue with 6 percent, and iRiver with 5 percent.

Sony, the inventor of the MD format, was the most frequently advertised MD brand, but the company also garnered top spot in MP3-CD advertising for the first time as its selection of MP3-CD portables grew. Sony MP3-CD ad frequency hit a 26 percent share in the first three quarters of this year compared to 10 percent during the year-ago period.

As ad frequency grew, advertised prices fell, Beyen found. In the third quarter of this year, the average advertised price of an MP3-CD player lacking AM/FM tuner fell to $58 compared to $81 during the year-ago period. The average price of a tuner-less MD player fell to $138 from $176 during those time periods.

Advertising Growth

Ad counts by quarter