Over-the-Air Radio Dominates —
Complemented by Streams

It doesn’t matter what state or city you are in or even the street you are on, smartphones are everywhere.  Smartphones have become an item that you can’t be without.  Think of the last time you forgot your phone.  Did you get that sick and almost lost feeling, like you were disconnected from everything?  It’s even harder when you live in a city where you commute using public transportation?  You have no choice but to read the signage on the bus or trains and even worse, look at people!!  Yikes.

OK, well maybe that’s a bit extreme, but I’m certain that brought at least a chuckle!  The point is that the smartphone doesn’t replace everything in a consumer’s life, but it does complement it.  Similarly, streaming or online radio complements broadcast radio.

According to Pew Research Center, 77% of adults in the U.S. own a smartphone and the breakout by gender or ethnicity is nearly equal to that figure.  Additionally, nearly 80% of adults own a desktop/laptop and more than 50% own a tablet.  These devices help Americans get directions, search restaurants, and check their social media accounts.  These devices also allow them to consume media on-the-go.

Nielsen Comparable Metrics Reports breaks out just some of time spent on what they are doing on these devices – social network, video, and of course audio.  According to the Q4 2016 report, time spent listening to broadcast radio still dominates over streaming audio on these devices.  The average adult spends 13 hours and 2 minutes listening to broadcast radio weekly.  By device, only 12 minutes are spent streaming audio on PCs, 36 minutes on smartphones and 12 minutes on tablets.  In fact, the trend of spending more time with broadcast over streams has been consistent since 2014.

While there may be some growth in streaming audio via these devices, this trend proves radio’s over-the-air dominance over streams.   Is it bad that time is spent listening to audio streams?  Definitely not!  Increased audio use is good for radio as radio continues to provide content to its listeners on-the-go and on-demand, but it is important to remember that there is more time spent with broadcast radio over streams.  In fact, nine out of every ten minutes is spent with broadcast radio versus streaming audio.

While Americans today have the advantage of taking their entertainment and audio on-the-go, when it comes to audio, broadcast radio continues to dominate and audio streams complement that over-the-air use.


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