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HOW AMERICA LISTENS: THE AMERICAN AUDIO LANDSCAPE

HOW AMERICA LISTENS: THE AMERICAN AUDIO LANDSCAPE

Each week, more Americans tune to AM/FM radio than any other platform. What’s more, according to Nielsen’s second-quarter 2017 Comparable Metrics Report, 93% of U.S. adults 18 and older listen to radio every week—more than those watching television or using a smartphone, TV-connected device, tablet or PC.

We are in the midst of an exciting time for audio, with more and more ways to listen to information and entertainment. AM/FM radio, on-demand streaming, podcasts, digital radio services and satellite radio are all part of this burgeoning platform. According to the newly released April 2018 Audio Today Report, this audio universe remains a reliable way for to engage today’s diverse audiences. And as technology continues to evolve, choices for listening will continue to grow, presenting marketers and advertisers with even more opportunities.

AM/FM radio is America’s top reach medium, giving it mass appeal among diverse audiences—across generations, ethnicities, and . By generation, radio has the largest reach with Generation X (ages 35-54), with 80.5 million listeners tuning during an average month (97% of the Gen X population). This is followed by Millennials (18-34-year-olds), with 71.6 million listeners tuning in monthly (95% of the Millennial population). Meanwhile, radio reaches 41.2 million monthly listeners among Baby Boomers  (ages 55-64), representing 98% of the Baby Boomer population.

 

Monthly reach metrics are widely used in assessing the world, and here radio also leads the way when comparing data for adults 18+. By using Nielsen Scarborough to group together the monthly reach figures for various kinds of websites (including search, social media, video, and several others), we see that radio’s monthly 18+ reach (243 million) is larger than the combined reach of different types of digital destinations.

Network radio, a large and diverse catalog of content distributed on a national basis across hundreds of stations, also reaches a wide variety of listeners. Each week, 94% of all general radio listeners tune to a network-affiliated station—network programming includes everything from 24-hour music channels to sports talk and political analysis.

When considering today’s expanding audio landscape, it’s impossible to ignore podcasts. With a huge number of podcasts covering every imaginable subject and interest, it comes as no surprise that over 30 million Americans watch, listen or download a podcast every month. While this remains a significantly smaller slice of the audio pie than AM/FM radio, listenership is growing, and smartphones are driving the surge in podcast popularity, with a 157% increase in podcast usage on those devices since 2014!

 


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