Broadcast radio continues to cordon off the largest slice of smart speaker listening to ad-supported audio platforms, capturing 35%, according to Edison Research’s latest Share of Ear data. Podcasts once again hold the third-biggest share of ad-supported listening (16%), essentially even with its share in the prior report which is based on a rolling four-quarter average.
“AM/FM radio stations have used their massive reach to educate listeners on how to use their smart speakers to listen to their favorite stations,” said Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer at Westwood One. He said in a blog post that for sister Cumulus Media’s radio stations during the past four years, the smart speaker has grown to represent nearly a quarter of all online listening.
Still, radio’s smart speaker share may be as big as it will get with other formats targeting the devices. Between second and third quarters, Edison reports the share for AM/FM was down three points from Edison’s previous update.
The new numbers, which were made public by Westwood One, show the advertising-supported version of Pandora ranks second at 28%, up slightly. Both ad-supported Spotify and ad-supported SiriusXM slipped one percent in Edison’s newest release.
Edison also reported for the first time that the ad-supported version of Amazon Music had a 4% share of all listening on smart speakers. As the maker of the Alexa device, Amazon has been taking steps to capture a piece of what is coming out of the smart speakers. That has included launching podcasts on Amazon Music in September and striking deals to build out its podcast portfolio. Last month it struck a deal to buy the podcast studio Wondery.
The Share of Ear study shows smart speaker ownership has grown five-fold during the past few years, increasing from 7% of homes having a smart speaker in 2017 to 35% as of the third quarter of 2020. That means roughly one out of three Americans have a smart speaker. Ownership is even greater among 18–34-year-olds, with ownership at 39%, and among 35–54-year-olds, who are not far behind at 37%.
Bouvard points out that other research has shown that the profile of the smart speaker owner skews employed, professional, and over-indexes on college education and having a household income of $100,000 or more.
Edison Research’s Share of Ear data is compiled from participants who are given a diary which asks them to record their listening throughout the day in 15-minute increments, asking not only what platform they used, but the content consumed, and where they were located.