Nielsen: Work-From-Homers Using Radio, Streaming As Audio Companions.


Americans may be working from home but they still listen, watch and consume. For a Special Work From Home Edition of its Total Audience Report, Nielsen dove into remote working to determine how work-from-home consumers are adapting and how this change in location affects their media consumption. It found that while there may be less commuting going on with this section of the workforce, these consumers still rely on radio quite a bit.


“Rather than shutting radio out of their marketing mixes, brands might want to consider adjusting their strategies to reach listeners who may be on the job instead of on the way to one,” Nielsen says in the new report released today (Aug. 12).


Three quarters of adults measured by Nielsen said they listen to music, such as broadcast radio or streaming music services, during their work-from-home hours and 40% of those listeners do so daily. With at-work listening in offices and factory floors long a radio strength, that high level is to be expected. Radio scored higher than all other media options as a working companion, including watching TV or streaming content during a break from work (65%), spending time on social media (64%), watching TV or streaming content, with sound, while working (56%) and watching TV or streaming content, with no sound, while working (50%).


Nielsen leveraged its panel data with a custom Scarborough survey to offer insights into how adults aged 18 and older are using media in a COVID-19 world.

“Multitasking in today’s world is the rule, not the exception, so it’s no surprise that work-from-homers have turned to media to keep them company, pre-occupy them or perhaps even to replace the hum of a chatty office with a gaggle of talking heads,” said Peter Katsingris, Senior VP of Audience Insights at Nielsen.


Not unexpectedly, the pandemic has put a great emphasis on news content. Nielsen reports nearly half of adults say they are listening to spoken word audio content such as podcasts or talk radio. Three in ten said they’re doing it at least once a week, and nearly a quarter said they listen to spoken word content during working hours every day.


The survey also looked at the types of news Americans are listening to while working at home.


Nielsen said 44% of adults said they listen to news and current event podcasts, 39% tune into an all-news or news/talk station, 33% listen to news updates on a music radio station and 28% listen to a public radio station.


Nielsen said its data shows that more than half (54%) of adults who have switched to a work-from-home schedule now get up later than they did when they had to commute. Nearly as many (49%) stay up later too.


Radio Remains Top Reach Media At 91%

The Q1 Total Audience Report also looks at media consumption during the first three months of the year and shows that radio remains the top reach medium at 91%, down one percentage point from 92% one year ago. Tied for second place with 85% are live + time shifted TV, down one percentage point from Q1 2019, and app/web on a smartphone, up six percentage points from one year earlier.


Adults 18+ spent one hour and 39 minutes per day with radio, compared to 1:42 in Q1 2019 and 1:46 in Q1 2018. Of nine media channels studied, only app/web on a smartphone (3:46) and live TV (3:43) had longer TSL than radio in Q1.This also marks the first time that app/web on a smartphone pulled ahead of live TV in average time spent.


Breaking out time spent with radio by demos shows radio’s most avid users are 50-64 year-olds, tuning in two hours and three minutes per day, followed by 35-49 year-olds and 65+ (1:41 each) and 18-34 year-olds (1:16).


The Q1 2020 data shows adults 18+ spend 18% of their daily time with media with radio. That is remarkably consistent across age groups: 13% of 18-34 year-olds’ daily media time goes to radio, 14% for 35-49, 15% for 50-64 and 12% for 65+.


The report also drills down into the audio universe, showing broadcast radio retained its dominant reach at 91%. But streaming audio on a smartphone made a major leap forward to 64% reach from 50% in Q1 2019. Streaming audio on a tablet was third (24%, up from 20%), followed by satellite radio (flat at 16%).


Smart speakers improved their penetration to 33% of U.S. households, up from 28% last year while voice assistant reach leapt to 44% of Americans 18+ from 36% last year.

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