Edison: AM/FM Streaming's Share Continues To Grow, Hitting Record-High 17% Among 25-54s.


According to the third-quarter 2022 findings from Edison Research's ongoing “Share of Ear” study, streaming now accounts for 17% of AM/FM radio listening among persons 25-54, its highest-recorded share to date. That's up from 11% in both Q3 2019 and 2020, and more than double its 8% share from both Q3 2016 and 2017.


“It is definitely time [for] an advertiser or agency to add AM/FM streaming into media plan[s],” Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard says, citing Edison data showing that a third of the daily AM/FM streaming audience is not reached by over-the-air AM/FM. “Putting streaming in your plan actually generates incremental reach, so not only is there a lot of audience, there are a lot of impressions. You're [reaching] people that you weren't getting with over-the-air AM FM radio.”


The Westwood One weekly blog's analysis of the latest “Share of Ear” – where Edison Research surveys 4,000 Americans to measure daily reach and time spent for all forms of audio – points out that men are driving the growth in streaming. Nearly one-fourth (23%) of Men 25-54's listening to AM/FM radio occurred via streaming in Q3 2022, up from 18% a year ago, and steadily up from Q3 2017's 8%. For women 25-54, meantime, streaming has remained basically flat at 10%, where it was four years ago.


Spoken word represents a far greater share of AM/FM radio streaming time spent (41%) compared to over-the-air AM/FM radio (28%), according to Edison's data. That's also male-driven, with spoken word making up 44% of their streaming listening vs. 29% for women.


Westwood One's analysis shows that when it comes to ad-supported audio among persons 18+, AM/FM's share stands at 74%, far ahead of ad-supported Pandora (5%) or Spotify (4%), based on “Share of Ear.” That's in stark contrast to the results of an August 2022 Advertiser Perceptions survey of 300 media agencies and marketers, who estimate AM/FM's share at 28% vs. Spotify's and Pandora's combined 44%. “There is a major disconnect between agency advertiser perceptions and reality,” Bouvard says. “Perception is shaded by personal experience. Media decision makers need to take the 'me' out of media.”


As always, the Westwood One analysis focuses exclusively on listening to ad-supported audio and doesn’t include listening to the subscription-based versions of Spotify and Pandora.


What Bouvard refers to as a “head snapper” is Edison's finding that AM/FM radio’s persons 25-54 streaming audience is 20% larger than ad-supported Spotify and Pandora combined. In a comparison to Q3 2017, while AM/FM streaming's share of ad-supported audio among 25-54s has doubled from 6% to 12%, ad-supported Pandora is down from 10% to 6%, while Spotify is up slightly from 3% to 4%.

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