Edison Research recently released its quarterly report, “Share of Ear,” the media industry’s go-to for understanding how Americans consume audio each day. The “Share of Ear” report quantifies the reach and time spent with all forms of audio.
Here are some key findings from the latest Share of Ear Q4 2018 report:
1. AM/FM radio accounts for 80% of the daily time spent with ad-supported audio. Over half (58%) of the audio time spent among Americans goes to ad-supported platforms. Examples of ad-supported media include AM/FM radio, podcasts, and the portions of Spotify and Pandora that accept ads.
On its own, AM/FM radio accounts for 80% of daily audio time spent with any ad-supported platform. AM/FM radio’s share of total audio time spent is 46%. AM/FM radio is not only the centerpiece of audio. It is also the king of ad-supported audio.
2. For the first time, Spotify beats Pandora in share of audio time spent. This quarter, Spotify (4.9%) was finally able to edge out Pandora (4.7%) in share of audio time spent among adults 18+, thanks to Spotify’s consistent growth over the years, increased consumer desire for on-demand content, and Pandora’s ongoing decline.
Spotify’s growth is powered by its ad-free subscription service. Since the Q3 2016 Share of Ear Report, Spotify’s ad-free subscription share has tripled, growing from 1.1% in Q3 2016 to 3.1% in Q4 2018.
Spotify continues to expand in the digital audio landscape, but all growth is coming from its ad-free subscription service – out of reach to advertisers. Spotify’s ad-supported audience has been flat for two years.
3. Pandora’s audience continues its freefall. Since Q3 2016, Pandora’s share of audio time spent and reach have both taken a nosedive. Pandora’s time spent share fell from 6.3% in Q3 2016 to 4.7% in Q4 2018, a -25% decline. Pandora’s daily reach decreased from 14.6% in Q3 2016 to 11.7% in Q4 2018, a -20% decline. With SiriusXM recently acquiring the ailing Pandora in September 2018, Pandora’s audience trends should prove interesting to watch.
4. Podcast daily audiences continue to surge. Podcasts are experiencing a renaissance. New content, innovative audio devices, and spikes in audience interest are all playing a role in podcasting growth.
Edison’s “Share of Ear” reveals the daily reach for podcasts has grown dramatically among major buying demos over the past two years. Millennials 18-34 daily reach grew +55% from Q4 2016 to Q4 2018 (11.1% to 17.2%). Adults 25-54 daily reach has more than doubled since Q4 2016, from 6.4% in Q4 2016 to 13.9% in Q4 2018 (+117% increase). Podcasting is a promising audio platform on the rise for both advertisers and media companies.
- AM/FM radio accounts for 80% of the daily time spent with ad-supported audio
- For the first time, Spotify beats Pandora in share of audio time spent
- All of Spotify’s growth comes from its ad-free subscription service
- Pandora’s audience continues its freefall
- Podcast daily audiences continue to surge
Brittany Faison is the Insights Manager at CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One.
Contact the Insights team at CorpMarketing@westwoodone.com.