Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Insights: Radio Listening Apparently Is Pandemic Proof

This week’s Westwood One blog answers the question, “What was the impact of COVID-19 on audio listening?” using data from the Q2 2020 “Share of Ear” from Edison Research. 

The just-released quarterly report marks the first “Share of Ear” release since the pandemic began and measures how Americans consume audio each day, quantifying reach and share of time spent with various audio platforms.
  • COVID-19 did not undermine AM/FM radio’s dominant share of ad-supported audio. Among persons 18+, AM/FM radio accounts for 76% of all ad-supported audio time spent. AM/FM radio has remained stable from the 78% ad-supported share reported in the Q2 2019 report.
  • AM/FM radio continues to rule the road as Americans are back in their cars. Geopath data shows American miles traveled dropped in March and April and then quickly recovered. AM/FM radio did not lose its place as the #1 audio platform in the car. The Q2 2020 report shows AM/FM radio accounts for a whopping 87% of ad-supported time spent with audio in the car, confirming AM/FM radio’s resilience and dominance.
  • Pandora and Spotify still significantly trail AM/FM radio. AM/FM radio is seven times bigger than ad-supported Pandora and Spotify combined (43% vs. 6%).
  • When it comes to entertainment, Americans are moving from ownership to rentals: Streaming audio growth comes at the expense of owned music, not AM/FM radio. In 2017, time spent was equally split between audio streaming and owned music. In Q2 2020, streaming audio accounted for almost two-thirds (64%) of the audio time spent between streaming audio and owned music.
  • 2016 versus 2020: Spotify/Pandora down, podcasts soar, AM/FM continues to dominate. Over the last four years, an examination of ad-supported audio audience shares among persons 25-54 reveals the combined shares of Spotify and Pandora dropped to 13% in Q2 2020, down from 14% in Q2 2016. Meanwhile, from Q2 2016 to Q2 2020, podcasts surpassed both streaming giants and even nearly tripled in share (4% to 11%). AM/FM remains the dominant player.

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