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Radio audiences A window of opportunity

Report by Mark Mulligan, Keith Jopling, Tatiana Cirisano and Annie Langston
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20,000 foot view:  Streaming claimed radio’s younger, music-focused audiences while podcasts are now beginning to do the same for older, spoken-word audiences. However, it is not yet determined that the impact needs to be as disruptive for radio companies. With radio audience declines slowing, and even experiencing a modest rebound, a window of opportunity exists for radio companies to become masters of their own destinies. But the window is small, and the required action will not be easy. 

Key insights 

  • Radio listening            in long-term, slow decline but            from a Covid trough, with            penetration going from            in            2016                       in            2022, but up from                       2020 low
  • Digital formats            gaining ground – since            2020,            radio listenership has been stable            podcasts, audiobooks, and music streaming            grew, including a six-point increase            streaming
  • Music radio            the trend, growing four points            the period to reach            with            US highest on           
  • Audio as            whole is improving engagement with            audio formats seeing daily listeners            in both actual terms and            a share of weekly listeners 
  • Podcasts increased            share of weekly listeners most                       points) but still had the            daily-to-weekly listener share with            in           
  • Radio had            second highest daily-to-weekly share            but            the least (up just one           
  • Streaming radio-like            and use case are gaining                      of music streamers listen            streaming stations and radio, while            in the car
  • Radio listeners            getting older –            of monthly            are over            compared to an            of just            across podcasts, streaming            audiobooks
  • Digital formats            not that young either, with            now-aging millennial base of 20-34-year-olds            for a quarter of digital            audiences, while            are just            of            compared to            of TikTok users
  • National broadcasters            the UK and Canada both            weekly listener declines for key            with commercial stations Heart and            gaining 
  • Radio is            favour again with artists and            with many artists citing the            importance of radio in audience-building            – radio’s song scarcity is            rare asset set against streaming’s            catalogue 

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Amazon Music, Amp, BBC, Capital, CBC, Clubhouse, Facebook, Global Radio, Green Room, Instagram, Kiss, NPR, Pandora, Radio            Radio            SiriusXM, Sounds, Spotify, Spotify Live, TikTok

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