The amount of listening to AM/FM radio programming taking place online continues to slowly tick upward. The latest Share of Ear survey from Edison Research, updated with second quarter 2021 data, finds that 12% of broadcast radio consumption among persons 13+ now occurs via streaming with the pandemic playing a role in the increase. That’s up from 11.3% in first quarter 2021 and marks the highest number yet from Edison.
Although streaming AM/FM content continues to see small amounts of incremental growth each year, the vast majority of listening continues to be on a traditional AM/FM receiver such as car radios and clock radios.
The 12% number is slightly higher that what Nielsen reported in May when it found the portion of AM/FM radio listening among persons 12+ that occurs online jumped to 10% in Nielsen’s PPM markets. That marked a doubling of streaming as a percentage of total listening in just over one year, with a big chunk of the increase coming from Nielsen’s headphone listening adjustment implemented with its October 2020 survey.
While listening continues to shift online, Laura Ivey, Director of Research at Edison, says the industry could see increased consumption by more aggressively promoting the myriad ways to listen.
“To realize growth, radio has to capitalize on its content being available beyond just a traditional radio receiver,” Ivey said. “We know that the pandemic has shifted U.S. listeners from their cars, where traditional radio is easily available, to their homes, where radio must be accessed on different devices. The challenge is how to convince listeners to follow radio content on different devices – radio not on ‘a radio.’ ”
Edison Research’s Share of Ear study measures the entire world of audio, looking at platform of listening, time of day, device on which the audio was consumed, the kind of programming, and the location of listening. Edison says its methodology fully represents the U.S. 13+ population, including not only those who are online but also those who are either not online or lightly online.