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Edison: AM/FM, Podcasts Continue To Dominate Ad-Supported Audio.

Edison Research's just-released “Share of Ear” report for fourth-quarter 2023 shows AM/FM radio with a still-commanding 68.3% cut of ad-supported audio listening among persons 18+, with podcasts in second with 20.3%. For a typical hour of listening, that translates to 41 minutes for AM/FM, and 12.2 for podcasts.

The remaining 6.8 minutes, or 11.4% of a typical hour, are accounted for by the ad-supported versions of Spotify (2.5 minutes) and SiriusXM and Pandora (2.2 minutes each), according to an analysis of Edison's data in Westwood One's weekly research blog.

For in-car ad-supported audio listening, AM/FM radio as usual takes the lion's share, with 85.8% of listening or 51.1 minutes of a typical hour, based on Edison's report. Podcasts again place second at 7.3% and 4.4 minutes, while SiriusXM’s ad-supported channels claim 3.8% with 2.3 minutes, and ad-supported Spotify and Pandora come in at 1.5% each with 0.9 minutes.

AM/FM benefits from a surge of in-car listening as a proportion of its total listening in Edison's Q4 2023 study, following three years of lower in-car shares since COVID. “Pre-pandemic, about half of all AM/FM radio listening occurred in the car,” Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard says. “The pandemic saw the amount of AM/FM radio listening in the car sink to only 41%, while in the most recent “Share of Ear” report, a stunning 58% of all AM/FM radio listening occurs in the car.”

Meanwhile, marketers continue to underestimate AM/FM radio's overall ad-supported share compared to ad-supported Spotify and Pandora, according to Advertiser Perceptions' ongoing survey of more than 300 agencies and advertisers with media budget decision-making responsibility. Results from its August 2023 survey showed AM/FM's perceived share at 26% vs. the actual 68%, with Spotify's and Pandora's at 29% and 17% respectively, vs. the actual 4% for each. “To create informed planning decisions, marketers and agencies should take the 'me' out of 'media' and fully understand today’s media behaviors,” Bouvard says.

One other key finding in Edison's data is the continued growth for spoken word audio, encompassing news, talk/personalities, and sports. “This is spoken word’s greatest audience share in the ten-year history of the 'Share of Ear' study,” Bouvard notes. “Since 2021, spoken word’s share of ad-supported audio has surged 29%, from 31% to 40% of all ad-supported audio.”

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