(By Bob McCurdy) It’s been a while since I updated this data, so it was time. Setting the audio record straight is critical for AM/FM radio to continue to get its rightful share of media and audio spend. Educating clients regarding the media and audio landscape as it exists — not as it is perceived to exist — is one of our most important responsibilities, because if our clients don’t know what we know, they won’t believe what we believe and invest the way we suggest they invest.
We can’t expect them to be familiar with the following information unless we bring it to their attention, as they have businesses to run and don’t have time to be audio experts. They rely on us for this education and information.
There is a lot of press, headlines, and erroneous impressions out there, so the following data should serve as a reality check. All who make a living representing AM/FM radio should be familiar with this data.
The chart below details Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, and AM/FM radio usage in the past week. The data was extracted from each market’s current Scarborough report. The column at the far right is the average of the seven markets and can be referenced with confidence should your market not be one of the seven.
5.2x as many adults tune to AM/FM each week as tune to Pandora; for Spotify the figure is 7.2x as many; and, for SiriusXM it is 5x as many. Put another way, 82.3% of adults do not listen to SiriusXM each week, 82.9% avoid Pandora, and 87.7% have not listened to Spotify the past seven days, on average, across these markets. In fact, across these seven markets, over half (52%) of all adults had not tuned to any of these three in the past week.
Keep in mind that the stats below include Spotify’s paid premium commercial-free subscribers as well as Pandora’s and it’s safe to assume that these paid subscribers are the heaviest users of these two services, accounting for a disproportionately large percentage of each service’s listening. Additionally, SiriusXM is not taking over the audio world. There are 272 million cars and trucks registered in the United States. Only 12%-13% subscribe to SiriusXM (SiriusXM has 34.6 million total subscribers and 29.6 self-pay subscribers).
How many times have you heard that those who listen to Pandora, Spotify, or SiriusXM don’t listen to AM/FM radio? Well this is clearly not the case. It turns out they listen to AM/FM quite a bit each day:
Just how many of Pandora and Spotify listeners also listen to AM/FM? The vast majority of them. Neither Spotify nor Pandora need to be included when AM/FM radio is part of the media plan:
In fact, the Pandora/Spotify listener is more more likely to be among the heaviest radio listeners than the general population. The Sirius listener is slightly less likely to be among the heaviest SM/FM listeners but 11% more likely to among the heavy AM/FM listener group.
One of radio’s most effective and respected ambassadors, Pierre Bouvard of Westwood One, forwarded a slide focused on Share of Ear data (Q4 2018-Q1-Q3 2019). This slide also “sets the record straight” highlighting that AM/FM radio’s share of A25-54 ad-supported audio time to be 74.0%, 7.8x that of Pandora’s 9.5% share, 16.8x that of Spotify’s 4.4% share, and 21.1x that of SiriusXM’s 3.5% share. This is where the rubber meets the road — if an advertiser can’t reach ’em, they can’t sell ‘em.
The takeaways from the above are:
– AM/FM usage continues to dwarf other audio alternatives;
– The Pandora, Spotify, and SiriusXM listener spends more than an hour and a half daily with AM/FM radio;
– The vast majority of Pandora or Spotify listeners tune to AM/FM radio each week;
– The Pandora/Spotify listener is more likely to be among the heaviest AM/FM radio listeners than the general population.
The data paints a great story for us to tell. It is up to us to make sure all with whom we deal are familiar with it.