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Americans overwhelmingly cite AM/FM radio as their current primary audio service:

  • AM/FM radio - 86%
  • Pandora – 33%
  • iHeartRadio – 19%
  • SiriusXM Radio – 19%
  • iTunesRadio – 16%
  • Podcasts – 14%
  • Spotify – 13%
  • Amazon Prime Music – 13%
  • Google Play Music All Access – 9%
  • SoundCloud – 7%
  • Rdio – 7%
  • Rhapsody – 5%
  • Slacker – 5%
  • Beats Music – 5%
  • Grooveshark – 5%

(Source: Morgan Stanley survey of 2,016 Adults conducted 11/14, released 1/15)


AM/FM Radio offers broad reach that will fill in the gaps of high percentages of the U.S. population not reached by alternative audio platforms. 

  • Reaches 91% of the total U.S. 12+ population, according to latest Nielsen Audio data
  • (Source:  Nielsen Audio RADAR 124, March 2015)

  • “Used yesterday” data shows:
    • 67% on 12+ consumers tuned in to AM/FM radio
    • 31% used streaming channels
    • 17% listened to digital music
    • 11% were satellite radio listeners

    (Source:  Media Review:  Music Streaming Services Market Profile – Clearvoiceresearch, May 2014)

  • American consumers still select AM/FM radio first for listening across all format category segments, based on percentage of time spent listening:
    • Music
      • AM/FM Radio @ 48%
      • Streaming @ 13%
      • Digital Music @ 10%
      • Satellite Radio @ 7%
    • News/Weather/Traffic/Talk
      • AM/FM Radio @ 73%
      • Satellite Radio @ 7%
      • Streaming @ 04%
      • Digital Music @ 0%
    • Sports Events/Sports Commentary
      • AM/FM Radio @ 71%
      • Satellite Radio @ 9%
      • Streaming @ 7%
      • Digital Music @ 0%

(Source: Media Review: Music Streaming Services Market Profile – Clearvoiceresearch, May 2014)


Americans spend more time with traditional AM/FM radio than with other audio options

  • AM/FM radio controls over half of the 4+ hours daily that Americans spend with all sources of audio (Edison Research, Persons 13+)
  • Americans averaged 88 minutes per day listening to AM/FM radio in 2014 (out of 748 total media minutes per day), more than combined
    • 7 minutes with desktop/laptop radio
    • 32 minutes with mobile device radio,

(Source: e-Marketer, 9/14 – includes all time spent with medium, regardless of multi-tasking; one hour of radio listening, one hour online counted for one hour each)


They may like customized playlists and personalized channels on digital platforms, but consumers rely on AM/FM radio for new music discovery:

  • 51% of consumers use AM/FM radio to discover new music, continuing its reign as the primary source of new music discovery  (2014 Nielsen Music U.S. Report – year-end report – 1/15)
  • Listeners find AM/FM’s curated playlists to be the best vehicle to hear new artists and songs, 75%  (The Infinite Dial 2014 – Edison Research/Triton Digital)
  • 70% of consumers say there is so much music online that it’s hard to stay on top of it

(“Radio 2015: The Year Ahead” – Bunzel Media Resources January 2015)

  • 59% of music listeners use a combination of over-the-air AM/FM radio and online radio streams to hear music 

(2014 Nielsen Music U.S. Report – year-end report – 1/15)

Traditional radio offers advertisers an established, audited audience ratings system (Nielsen Audio); online audio services make claims based on a variety of untested and questionable metrics

(Source: Triton Digital, MediaOcean, Strata, etc.)


Radio is the go-to source in weather events, emergencies: Consumers turn to AM/FM radio during emergencies and weather events when access to television and cable signals fails. Although cellphones have encroached as the emergency information source in more recent years, AM/FM radio is the habitual source for many Americans.

Insures Exposure to Ad Messages: On AM/FM radio, everyone hears the same content (both programming and advertising) and advertisers run messages tied to specific content in specific time periods; customized online audio sites allow everyone to listen to their own individualized station, so there’s no way to buy against specific content at a specific moment. Airing schedules on both AM/FM and digital/online and/or satellite insures that target audiences will be exposed to the advertiser message.

Radio has a high out-of-home presence, making it an optimal vehicle for retailers and other advertisers who need to reach the on-the-go consumer right before they shop

  • Audio is consumed 60%-70% of the time in car
    • AM/FM’s share of in car listening exceeds 70%
    • AM/FM remains the dominant audio choice in the home and the office, accounting for 50+ of all audio usage in these heavily wired environments

    (Source:  USA TouchPoints 2012 – Katz Radio Group)

  • Among Adults 18+ who have driven/ridden in a car in the past month
    • 31% have ever used an MP3 player/owned digital music in their primary vehicle
    • 38% have ever used an MP3 players/owned digital device in their primary vehicle
    • 17% have ever used satellite radio
    • 14% have ever listened to online radio

(Source: The Infinite Dial 2015 – Edison Research/Triton Digital)


Commercial Acceptance: Online audio listeners have the capability to skip content and advertising messages; while AM/FM listeners can change the station to avoid commercials, research shows that the majority stay tuned when the spots come on. The 2011 study by Arbitron/Coleman Research, “What Happens When the Spots Come On” found that 93% of listeners stay tuned during lead-in to commercial breaks, and 90% stayed for breaks longer than 3 minutes.

While Listeners to AM/FM and digital/online radio are open to commercial messages, AM/FM audiences display slightly greater tolerance for advertising

  • 80% of weekly AM/FM radio listeners are ok with ads
  • 75% of weekly online radio listeners are ok with ads

(Source: The Infinite Dial 2014 – Edison Research/Triton Digital))


Glossary:  http://www.rab.com/public/reports/buysellterms.pdf
FAQs:  http://www.rab.com/whyradio/faq.cfm
Statistics and Trends:  http://www.rab.com/whyradio/