Share Of Ear: Radio Still Biggest, But Podcasting And Streaming Are Closing Gap.


In a year that media habits have been disrupted and in-car commutes have not been the same as in the past for many Americans, broadcast radio continues to capture the biggest portion of audio of any medium. Edison Research’s latest Share of Ear data covering the third quarter shows AM/FM had a 42% share of time spent listening to audio among those aged 13 and older. That remains steady with the second quarter. Stuck-at-home Americans also did not give more time to their owned music collections. Edison said it still accounted for 10% of audio consumption.


Podcasting’s share continued to expand in recent months. Edison says its share of the roughly four hours a day people spend with audio was 6% during the third quarter, a one-point increase compared to the prior quarter.


Edison Senior VP Tom Webster said podcast’s share has tripled since 2014 when the first Share of Ear study was conducted. But he sees the bigger change in the ratio between the amount of time Americans give to broadcast radio versus the time they give to podcasting. In 2014, for every hour that Americans listened to of podcasts, we listened to 25 hours with AM/FM. “Today that ratio is one-to-seven,” said Webster. “I don’t think advertising dollars are yet at a one-to-seven ratio – but they probably should be because podcasting is a tremendous vehicle to advertise,” he said on a webinar Tuesday.


There were other changes quarter-to-quarter among other audio formats. Edison says streaming audio’s share rose to 18% in third quarter, up one point versus Q2 while YouTube’s share fell one point to a 9% share of ear. While the loss of in-car listening did not impact broadcast radio it seems to have dinged satellite radio a bit. Edison said satellite radio’s share dipped to 8% versus a 9% share earlier in the year.


The Share of Ear study requires respondents to keep a detailed daily diary of audio usage. The rolling national sample includes more than four thousand interviews in both English and Spanish, of which Edison says more than half have been fielded during the COVID-19 disruptions.

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