Online Radio’s Reach Continues to Grow

March 10, 2015

EdisonTriton-Online-Radio-Reach-Consumption-2008-2015-Mar2015Some 44% of Americans aged 12 and up listen to online radio on a weekly basis, up from 36% last year and 33% the year prior, according to the latest annual “Infinite Dial” report from Edison Research and Triton Digital. Moreover, the percentage of survey respondents listening to online radio (defined as listening to AM/FM radio stations online and/or listening to streamed audio content available only on the internet) on a monthly basis cracked the majority threshold for the first time, reaching 53% of the 12+ population, up from 47% last year.

No surprise, then, that a recent report from the Radio Advertising Bureau found optimism surrounding radio’s digital ad sales growth, expected to be in the double-digit range again this year.

Unlike in years past, though, online radio’s rising reach isn’t accompanied this year by growing consumption, the Edison Research study finds. Weekly time spent tuned in to online radio averaged 12 hours and 53 minutes among weekly listeners, down almost a half-hour from last year’s average of 13 hours and 19 minutes. That suggests that new weekly listeners this year are lighter consumers than average, though not to a large extent.

While online radio continues to appeal most to youth, this year’s increase in reach owes much to the 25-54 demographic. Half of respondents in that group reported having listened to online radio during the prior week, up from 37% in the prior year’s survey. By comparison, 69% of 12-24-year-olds (up from 64%) and 18% of those aged 55 and older (up from 13%) reported having listened during the prior week.

For more on the demographics of internet radio’s audience, see the MarketingCharts report, US Media Audience Demographics, which contains the age distribution, household income, and racial/ethnic composition of this audience.

In other results from the Edison Research study:

  • Pandora remains the clear internet audio leader in terms of brand awareness (75% of respondents aged 12 and up), although iTunes Radio (62%) and iHeartRadio (59%) grew rapidly in awareness from last year;
  • Some 34% of survey respondents (54% of those aged 12-24) tuned in to Pandora during the month prior to the survey, compared to 11% each for iHeartRadio and iTunes Radio;
  • Among weekly online radio listeners, smartphones (73%) have moved ahead of desktops and laptops (61%) to become the clear leader among devices commonly used for listening, with tablets (32%) a ways behind;
  • 63% of respondents have at some point used YouTube to watch music videos or listen to music, and 41% did so in the week prior to the survey, up from 55% and 33% last year, respectively;
  • Among respondents aged 18 and up who had driven or ridden in a car in the month prior to the survey, AM/FM radio was the top medium for listening (81%, down from 86% last year), followed by a CD player (55%, down from 61%), MP3 player/owned digital music (38%, up from 31%), online radio (21%, up from 14%) and satellite radio (17%, flat);
  • One-third of respondents have ever listened to an audio podcast, up from 30% last year, and roughly half of those have listened in the past month;
  • Among respondents who say it is “very important” or “somewhat important” to keep-up-to-date with music, AM/FM radio is viewed as the most important source, although YouTube is more important among 12-24-year-olds; and
  • This year the internet has supplanted radio as the medium used by the largest share of respondents to first learn about new music.

About the Data: The data is based on a national telephone survey conducted by Edison Research in January and February 2014 among 2,002 people aged 12 and older using random digit dialing techniques. The survey was offered in English and Spanish and both landlines and cell phones were called. The data was weighted to national 12+ population figures.

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