Nielsen: Radio Can Make Up For Audience Share That CTV Can’t


As media continues its rapid shift, advertising strategies have to adopt an adapt or be left behind mentality. This point is being driven home by a new Nielsen analysis revealing that replicating 2023’s media plan could lead to a 12% decrease in consumer reach.

The study, utilizing Nielsen Media Impact’s platform, evaluated a standard media plan mix — predominantly linear TV combined with connected TV (CTV) and digital platforms — to gauge changes in audience engagement over time.

Despite the common belief that increasing CTV and digital allocations might compensate for the declining reach of linear TV, Nielsen’s findings challenge this notion, showing no significant reach enhancement from boosting CTV and digital media shares.

The research further highlights the unchanging reach of a media mix, even with substantial increases in CTV and digital, suggesting that such adjustments do not effectively expand the audience base. In contrast, the introduction of AM/FM radio into digital/TV media plans demonstrated a remarkable ability to amplify reach across various campaign sizes,

Among the one-third of light TV viewing Americans who watch less than two hours a day, AM/FM radio proves to be a crucial medium. While TV and CTV have limited impact on this group, AM/FM radio can achieve a 29-point increase in incremental reach, demonstrating its unparalleled ability to engage light TV viewers.

Amplifying light TV
Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group

Despite the assumption that increasing allocations to CTV and digital platforms could compensate for the audience erosion in linear TV, Nielsen’s analysis shows this is not the case. Even significant shifts towards CTV and digital, up to 60% of the media mix, failed to enhance monthly campaign reach beyond the initial 65%.

Amplifying Radio v no radio
Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group

Nielsen’s data again underscores the superior reach of AM/FM radio compared to TV, particularly among younger demographics, suggesting a shifting landscape in media consumption patterns. The analysis delves into the incremental reach contribution of each media component within a plan, showing AM/FM radio’s exceptional capacity to extend audience engagement, far surpassing that of digital and CTV.

More information on the study can be found in the Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active blog.


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