Digital Audio / Satellite Radio

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AM/FM radio was the original portable electronic medium as technology migrated out of homes and into cars and onto transistor radios through the mid-20th century. Now online audio services and satellite radio have stolen some of traditional radio's mobility thunder with delivery on multiple devices and capacity for each user to customize content or to receive unique content based on algorithms

Although it's all sound, consumers and the respective industry segments differentiate among traditional AM/FM radio, digital audio/Internet radio services, and satellite radio services. The newer audio options have established a place in the media spectrum relatively quickly, appealing to younger consumers, early adapters, upscale adults – and advertisers, who are attracted to the expanded options afforded by satellite and digital/online audio marketing.

  • Pureplay radio services are webcasters that transmit only on the Internet; they don't transmit simulcasts of AM/FM radio broadcasts. These may not be interactive ("on demand") based on a ruling on royalty payments. (Arista)
  • Online radio's monthly audience (pureplay/AM/FM streamed combined) is estimated at 209 million, representing 73% penetration of the U.S. 12+ population.
    • 87% of America's 12-34-year-olds listen online monthly

    • 81% of 35-54's are online listeners

    • The 55+ audience is slower to adopt, with just 52% penetration

(Source: The Infinite Dial 2022 - Edison Research/Wondery/ART19)

  • 62% of consumers use an ad-supported music streaming service.

(Source: Digital media trends, 15th edition, Deloitte 2021)

Percentage (%) of daily audio listening done on each device by age:

  • 18-34:
    • Radio Receiver: 19%
    • Mobile: 48%
  • 35-54:
    • Radio Receiver: 33%
    • Mobile: 34%
  • 55+:
    • Radio Receiver: 52%
    • Mobile: 14%

(Source: Edison Research Share of Ear, Q3 2022)

Smart Speakers / Voice

  • 35% of Americans 18+ own a smart speaker as of June 2022.

(Source: The Smart Audio Report 2022 - Edison Research)

  • 78% of U.S. adults own any Amazon speaker while 41% own any Google speaker.
  • 47% of U.S. adults have one smart speaker, 24% have two and 29% have three or more smart speakers.
  • When compared to the first month of smart speaker ownership, Adults 18+ used their smart speakers as follows:
    • More often: 43%
    • About the same: 40%
    • Less often: 17%
  • How smart speaker owners listen to audio most often:
    • Smartphone or tablet: 34%
    • AM/FM radio: 19%
    • Smart speaker: 20%
    • Computer or laptop: 11%
    • Other: 16%

(Source: The Smart Audio Report, Spring 2022)

  • % of people who listen to audio on smart speakers more often by age:
    • 18-24: 4%
    • 25-34: 17%
    • 35-44: 18%
    • 45-54: 28%
    • 55-64: 16%
    • 65+: 21%

(Source: The Smart Audio Report, Spring 2022)

  • Voice assistants are helpful when interacting with smart speakers among adults
    • 34% say they use Alexa
    • 27% say they use Google Assistant
    • 31% say they use Siri

(Source: Open Voice Network; Vixen Labs; June 2022)

  • % of people who are making purchases using voice assistance by age:
    • 18-24: 50%
    • 25-34: 67%
    • 35-44: 63%
    • 45-54: 63%
    • 55-64: 41%
    • 65+: 38%

(Source: Open Voice Network; Vixen Labs; June 2022)

  • 66% of smart speaker owners listen to the news on their smart speakers.

(Source: The Smart Audio Report, Spring 2022)

Audio Podcasting

  • A podcast is an audio program formatted to be played on the iPod and made available for free or for purchase over the Internet. The name derives from the combination of broadcast and iPod.
  • Podcasts are shows similar to a radio show that is produced by professionals or amateurs and posted to the Internet for download and listening or viewing.

(Source: About.com)

  • 226 million P12+ are familiar with audio podcasts.
  • In 2022 - 62% of persons 12+ had ever listened to an audio podcast, an all-time high – increasing from 44% in 2018, 40% in 2017 and 36% in 2016

(Source: The Infinite Dial 2022 - Edison Research/Wondery/ART19)

  • 22% of US adults with an annual income of $200,000+ spend at lease 5 hours per week with online audio (podcasts/online radio).

(Source: Forrester, Weigh The Pros And Cons Of 11 Emerging Marketing Channels, 2020)

  • Approximately 109 million (38%) of Americans reported listening to a podcast in the past month in 2022 – nearly double from 21% in 2016
    • 41% of men listened to a podcast in the last month while 36% of listeners were women.
    • 50% of America's 12-34-year olds listened to podcasts in the last month
    • 43% of adults 35-54 listened to podcasts last month while only 22% of adults 55+ listened

(Source: The Infinite Dial 2022 - Edison Research/Wondery/ART19)

  • 59% of weekly podcast listeners tune in most often at home while 20% of listeners tune in to podcasts in the car
  • 73% of weekly podcast listeners use a smartphone to tune in while 13% of listeners use a desktop or a laptop

(Source: The Infinite Dial 2022 - Edison Research/Wondery/ART19)

  • Podcast listeners listen to multiple podcast episodes each week - an average of 8 per week
    • Listen to 1 podcast per week - 14%
    • Listen to 2 podcasts weekly – 18%
    • Listen to 3 podcasts weekly – 13%
    • Listen to 4-5 podcasts weekly – 21%
    • Listen to 6-10 podcasts weekly – 16%
    • Listen to 11 or more podcasts weekly – 18%

(Source: The Infinite Dial 2022 - Edison Research/Wondery/ART19)

Satellite Radio

  • Satellite radio arrived on the American scene with the September 2001 debut of XM Satellite Radio, followed by Sirius Satellite Radio in July 2002. The two competitors merged in July 2008 after it became apparent the sector couldn't support two distinct entitites – now known as SiriusXM Radio.
  • Satellite radio services broadcast from satellites, with programming delivered primarily to vehicles or other dedicated devices. Programming is available only to those who subscribe to the service.
  • Satellite radio subscriber categories:
    • Self-Pay – individuals pay their own monthly fee
    • Promotional – Depending on how initial deal with an auto partner is structured, promotional subscriptions may or may or may not be "paid" by the manufacturer or a third party
  • Satellite service claimed 34.2 million total subscribers as of September 2022. 

(Source: SiriusXM Radio, Q3 2022)

   Be sure to read this article: Time With Radio is Time Well Spent.    In Spanish: El Tiempo con la Radio es tiempo bien invertido.


Digital Audio

  • Accessibility: Consumers like the ability to access streamed content 24/7, via an increasing variety of delivery platforms
  • Ease of Use: is a major factor in consumers' quick adaptation of streaming services, other digital audio.
  • Consumer Data: Digital audio platforms have a wealth of "big data" on their subscribers that can be used to help advertisers target specific consumers or segments.
  • Targeting: Targeted audio advertising can be inserted into live stream, enabling advertisers to target listeners based on user profiles, listening preferences, location, demographic and psychographic criteria and on specific devices; or to create custom segments based on listener data.
  • Trackable: Advertisers can immediately see impact of response to their advertising.
  • Mobility: In-Car listing via cellphone grew from 38% in 2017 to 49% of total 12+ in 2022.
  • (Source: The Infinite Dial 2022 - Edison Research/Wondery/ART19)

Satellite Radio Advantages

  • Availability: Consumers can access in their cars, as well as on many digital devices. Also available via many cable and satellite TV services
  • Drivers can access same programming anywhere: Has strong appeal to people who spend a lot of time in their vehicles, and especially those who drive long distances
  • Emulates AM/FM Radio: Wide variety of programming choices, with channels offering choices of music formats, on-air personalities, and news, talk and sports formats
  • Ad Acceptance: Although they pay a subscription fee, satellite listeners appear to tolerate commercials

Digital Audio

  • Awareness Outpaces Use:
    • Awareness of streaming services is high among the American public
      • 82% are aware of Spotify
      • Pandora has 79% recognition
      • 72% are aware of Apple Music
      • 69% know about iHeartRadio and Amazon Music
      • Audacy and TuneIn Radio, the least-known services, have 17% and 18% awareness levels, respectively
        (Source: The Infinite Dial 2022 - Edison Research/Wondery/ART19)
  • Reliability: Consumers won't tolerate poorly designed interfaces or unreliable features and will switch quickly to alternative services
  • Lack on In-Vehicle Penetration: The majority of vehicles still don't have stereo systems that will accommodate a Smartphone or blue-tooth connection, limiting access to streaming services on the road
  • Cost: Access to services (or expanded functionality) may require payment of subscription fees
  • Resolution of ongoing legal issues regarding royalties for music aired on digital audio and satellite radio channels may lead those incur additional costs for their programming and ultimately result in passing those costs along to subscribers, or limiting music selections available
  • Increased Competition in Sector:  Pandora has been the early leader among digital services, but has experienced some erosion as competition with other services has heated up
  • Relatively Low Rate of Adaptation:  Consumers are not migrating en masse to digital. Consumers continue to tune into AM/FM radio as radio continues to deliver content across devises and platforms as well as on-demand
    Content Limitations: News and Sports content isn't widely available at this time, although music consumers also want access to information.
  • Privacy Issues: Perceived advantage through ability to track consumers may also prove to be a liability as government, consumer concerns regarding privacy increase.
  • Accountability: Online radio and music services do not have accredited audience measurement services in place.
  • Online audio channels/services compare the total audiences they claim against single AM/FM radio stations in any given market, making the claim that they are #1 in the market; rightly would need to aggregate all stations for broadcast groups within that market for a more accurate comparison.
  • Additionally, there is no way to determine duplication among "registered users," as many may have created multiple account to avoid reaching caps on free listening.

Satellite Radio Disadvantages

  • Low In-Car Use: Satellite radio touts its in-vehicle presence, but enjoys relatively low in-car use among consumers
  • SiriusXM claims 83% penetration of total new vehicle population
  • Availability doesn't translate to use
    • 22% of Adults 18+ who have driven or ridden in a car in the past month have ever used satellite radio in their primary vehicle
      (Source: SiriusXM Investor Data Q1 2022; The Infinite Dial 2022 – Edison Research/Wondery/ART19)
  • Digital Music/Online Radio challenging satellite radio's in-car use:
  • AM/FM radio is nearly ubiquitous in vehicles of all ages – new or on the road for 10 years or more – and is available at no cost to the listener
  • Digital audio services such as Pandora, Spotify, etc. are challenging satellite radio's position as the in-car option to AM/FM radio.
    • SiriusXM has dipped a toe into the streaming audio waters as it has recently invested in Pandora.
    • Apple's CarPlay presents a challenge to satellite radio as it allows iPhone connectivity to the vehicle's dashboard for easier access to apps, music, phone calls, etc.
  • Monetary Investment: Hardware and/or subscription fees required to receive satellite radio contrast to free over-the-air radio
  • Resolution of ongoing legal issues regarding royalties for music aired on digital audio and satellite radio channels may lead those incur additional costs for their programming and ultimately result in passing those costs along to subscribers, or limiting music selections available

   Be sure to read this article: Time With Radio is Time Well Spent.    In Spanish: El Tiempo con la Radio es tiempo bien invertido.


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 84% of the total U.S. 18+ population weekly, according to latest Nielsen Audio data
(Source: Nielsen Audio RADAR 154, September 2022)

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.

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. FM chip-enabled smartphones also help to deliver information during these same emergencies.

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:

  • Among Adults 18+ who have driven/ridden in a car in the past month
    • 73% have ever listened to AM/FM radio in their primary vehicle 
    • 53% have ever used owned digital music in their primary vehicle
    • 35% have ever used a CD player in their primary vehicle
    • 32% have ever listened to online audio and podcasts
    • 22% have ever used SiriusXM
    (Source: The Infinite Dial 2022 - Edison Research/Wondery/ART19)

   Be sure to read this article: Time With Radio is Time Well Spent.    In Spanish: El Tiempo con la Radio es tiempo bien invertido.



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