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Study: On-Demand Is Helping Radio Become An At-Home Medium.

From drive time morning shows to stations positioning themselves as the at-work station everyone in the office can agree upon, radio has long been a champion of out-of-home media consumption. But an analysis of Nielsen data by Futuri finds it is not only radio that is adapting during the pandemic, so are listeners – especially with the rise of on-demand broadcast audio. Futuri says nearly two-thirds (63%) of on-demand listening is taking place at home versus 37% outside the home.

“This finding is important, as it runs counter to the previous long-term trend of radio being an increasingly out-of-home experience. It confirms that on-demand broadcast audio has potential to step in and meet demand that would previously have been addressed by the morning commute,” says Futuri in the report.

Futuri also shared some data for stations using its POST technology that helps stations turn their live radio shows into on-demand podcasts. It says the average length of listening sessions for stations using POST was 7.18 minutes versus 5.63 minutes for stations not using POST.

The findings are based on a review of millions of occasions of minute-level listening data between January 2020 and August 2021. Futuri’s analysis found that listener habits varied by formats. It shows 79% of the on-demand content created by Adult Contemporary stations is listened-to at home, with Pop CHR station podcasts at similar levels, with 77% of that content also consumed at home.

“In other words, on-demand broadcast audio isn’t just for spoken word — music formats have a relatively high volume of activity,” the report says. “Also, 70% of all on-demand broadcast audio listening is from stations on the FM band.” It shows AM stalwarts like Talk and Sports were more evenly split between at-home and out-of-home listening.

From prank calls to celebrity interviews, morning drive continues to be the source of much of the time-shifted content that music stations offer. Futuri says its review of Nielsen data shows 60% of listening to on-demand broadcast audio content comes from broadcasts originally aired from 6am-10am.

But turnaround time is also a key piece of finding an audience. The top hour for replays of content aired on Adult Contemporary stations is the 6am hour. It’s the same for Active Rock and Sports stations. For Pop CHR it’s an hour later – the 7am hour – while for on-demand content of News-Talk/Information stations it is the 9am hour when most time-shifted listening is done. “The right content is important, but can only achieve its potential if delivered rapidly – as soon as possible after the broadcast hour – and without discernible loss of quality,” says Futuri.

Despite an evolution of listening habits, the study concludes that although there is “a profound appetite” for time-shifted radio content among audio consumers, those opportunities are “largely untapped” as awareness of time-shifted radio content among listeners remains low.

Futuri thinks some stations are also taking a go-slow approach, since they are unsure about whether it is better to focus on time-shifted content or creating original podcasts. It hopes the report will help convince broadcasters it’s not an “either-or” choice.

“An effective on-demand strategy for radio should include both quality on-demand broadcast audio content and original podcasts, allowing on-air talent to deepen relationships with listeners via longer-form audio and discover new and different monetization options,” says Futuri. But it also concedes in the near-term time-shifted content may offer stations on the fence a cost-efficient and less effort-intensive approach than podcasting since it simply makes available content that is already being created.

“To be sure, creating podcasts and dedicated on-demand content is an important part of the long-term roadmap,” says the analysis. “That being said, even with the best software in the world, new content creation requires time and resources that many teams don’t have immediately on hand, particularly in the light of ongoing rationalization initiatives by newly consolidated entities.”

Patent Office Awards Seal To Futuri

In a related announcement, Futuri says the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has recently issued a U.S. Patent for POST – its tech platform that stations use to easily time-shift live radio content and make it available across a variety of social channels and audio, video, and podcast platforms. Futuri CEO Daniel Anstandig, and Director of Research & Development, Craig Bowman are named as inventors on the patent. It is one of several U.S. and foreign patents and pending patent applications held by the company.

Download a copy of the Futuri’s “Growing Audience with On-Demand Broadcast Audio” white paper and register for a related Nov. 11 webinar HERE.

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