The trendsetting, battleground discussion around whether people hear the words Yanny or Laurel in the audio clip that’s an auditory illusion, makes one thing for certain: listening is alive and well but what people hear, differs. Media buyers and marketers may hear Satellite, but perhaps they should hit replay and hear radio.
In today’s media landscape it’s easy to understand why marketers are drawn to the luster of digital media and satellite radio. New, cool and hip is a no brainer when it’s up against stodgy and outdated. But is radio really outdated or is it timeless? Outward appearances are not what they seem. Radio stands the test of time against new and traditional mediums – at a very high volume.
Every single week, about 93% of Americans tune into AM/FM radio reaching 228.5 million Americans 18+. That’s more than the 68.5 million who stream audio, 35.7 million who use satellite radio or 21.9 million who consume podcasts. And it also outpaces TV’s 216.5 million consumers.
In general, AM/FM radio has six times more reach at 88.5% vs. 14.2% for satellite radio, according to Scarborough USA. And Entercom is the second single biggest radio operator with 235 stations across popular formats in a national footprint reaching 112 million+ listeners monthly.
Satellite and streaming, meantime, is a fragmented toss up between Sirius, Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play, SoundCloud and Apple Music. Let’s take a look at the biggest player: SiriusXM. With 33 million subscribers, only a fraction of subscribers listen to ad-supported channels. Just 26% of listening time on SiriusXM takes place with ad-supported spoken word channels, according to Edison. That leaves 74% of SiriusXM time spent with music-based ad-free channels. Additionally, Edison Research’s Share of Ear (Q2-Q4 2017; Q1 2018) reports that radio’s daily reach is 72%, while the audience for ad-supported SiriusXM is only 4%.
Radio, and the ads on them, get heard. AM/FM radio is a commercial-driven medium with 84% of the AM/FM radio audience on average, hearing ads when they listen to AM/FM at home, work or while traveling in a car and according to Vision Critical/MARU.
And speaking of cars, did you know that 82% of all car music is sourced from AM/FM radio vs. just 21% for satellite radio, according to Edison Research’s Infinite Dial 2018 report.
Sure these numbers sound good but who’s buying radio advertising? Some of the country’s top marketers, it turns out. McDonald’s led a long list of top name brands with big radio buys last year with spending of $46.1 million. Brands such as Home Depot. T-Mobile or Geico followed with investments of $30 million or more on radio in 2017, according to Nielsen.
What else does radio have that satellite does not? Loyalty. Fans. Fandom. Consider that 99.99% of those listening to satellite radio also listen to over-the-air radio, but just 16% of AM/FM radio listeners also listen to Satellite radio. And here’s something more telling: five out of six radio listeners never (ever) listen to satellite radio.
We’re not even talking about radio’s heavy listeners. Those folks are real radio fans and they represent about 30% of all radio listeners, meaning they listen to radio for more than one hour daily. The Infinite Dial’s Heavy Radio Listeners Report cites that heavy listeners are slightly more male, just 8% more, they’re employed and about equally skewed across major ethnicities (Black, White and Hispanic). They are well educated and earn more than $100K.
So let’s listen again: Radio or Satellite? Where will your ad be heard?
Sources: Audio Today 2018, How America Listens. Scarborough USA+ 2017 Release 2 Total (Jun 2016-Nov 2017). Inside Radio The Most Trusted News in Radio, May 22, 2018. WestwoodOne: How Much of SiriusXM’s Audience Can Advertisers Buy? The Infinite Dial 2018, Triton Digital.