Radio audiences A window of opportunity
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20,000 foot view: Streaming claimed radio’s younger, music-focused audiences while podcasts are now beginning to do the same for older, spoken-word audiences. However, it is not yet determined that the impact needs to be as disruptive for radio companies. With radio audience declines slowing, and even experiencing a modest rebound, a window of opportunity exists for radio companies to become masters of their own destinies. But the window is small, and the required action will not be easy.
- Radio listening is in long-term, slow decline but rebounding from a Covid trough, with monthly penetration going from in 2016 to in 2022, but up from a 2020 low
- Digital formats are gaining ground – since 2020, weekly radio listenership has been stable while podcasts, audiobooks, and music streaming all grew, including a six-point increase for streaming
- Music radio bucked the trend, growing four points during the period to reach with the US highest on
- Audio as a whole is improving engagement with all audio formats seeing daily listeners rise in both actual terms and as a share of weekly listeners
- Podcasts increased daily share of weekly listeners most (up points) but still had the lowest daily-to-weekly listener share with in 2022
- Radio had the second highest daily-to-weekly share but grew the least (up just one point)
- Streaming radio-like features and use case are gaining ground – of music streamers listen to streaming stations and radio, while stream in the car
- Radio listeners are getting older – of monthly listeners are over compared to an average of just across podcasts, streaming and audiobooks
- Digital formats are not that young either, with the now-aging millennial base of 20-34-year-olds accounting for a quarter of digital format audiences, while are just of users compared to of TikTok users
- National broadcasters in the UK and Canada both saw weekly listener declines for key stations, with commercial stations Heart and Capital gaining
- Radio is finding favour again with artists and managers, with many artists citing the (resurgent) importance of radio in audience-building strategies – radio’s song scarcity is a rare asset set against streaming’s infinite catalogue
Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Amazon Music, Amp, BBC, Capital, CBC, Clubhouse, Facebook, Global Radio, Green Room, Instagram, Kiss, NPR, Pandora, Radio Radio SiriusXM, Sounds, Spotify, Spotify Live, TikTok