Bouvard: Radio Dominates Ad-Supported Audio


Cumulus/Westwood One Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard, one of radio’s biggest cheerleaders, breaks down the latest Share of Ear data from Edison Research. The data shows that Pandora and Spotify’s ad-supported audiences have decreased significantly while radio’s remains robust.

The data Bouvard digs into shows that over the past five years, Pandora and Spotify, which had a miniscule ad-supported audience to begin with, have experienced even more erosion in those audiences. “Compared to Q2 2016, Spotify’s Q2 2021 ad-supported audience shares have dropped from 1.6% to 1.4%. Pandora’s ad-supported audience share has been cut in half (7.1% to 3.8%).
In addition to losing ad-supported listeners, Spotify’s ad-free subscription audience has jumped from 0.9% to 3.7%. Meanwhile, Spotify’s ad-supported free service audiences remain small (under 2%).

Radio’s challenge, according to Bouvard, is one of perception. He says brands and agencies significantly overestimate Pandora and Spotify’s audiences. “Brands and agencies perceive that Spotify’s share (24%) is twelve times larger than its actual 2% share. Pandora’s perceived 18% audience share is over six times larger than reality (3%).”

What you should share with your clients and ad agencies is the reality of where things stand. Bouvard says AM/FM radio represents three-fourths of all ad-supported audio. Radio has a whopping 76% share, as the medium continues to dominate ad-supported audio.

In the automobile those numbers are even stronger. AM/FM radio owns the car with a 90% share of ad-supported audio six years in a row.

And streaming is a strength for radio as well, according to Bouvard. “15 cents out of every AM/FM radio ad dollar can go to the stream as streaming now represents 15% of persons’ 25-54 AM/FM radio listening. Since 2016, the share of AM/FM radio time spent occurring via the stream has grown from 8% to 15%. Streaming is now bigger than AM radio, which represents 10% of listening.”

Watch Bouvard’s video presentation HERE of the most recent Edison Research data.


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