Two New Studies Reveal Internet Radio’s Audience is Up

Studies by American Media Services and Edison Media Research both indicate a growing Internet Radio audience. Earlier this week Edison Media released a few facts from its updated Infinite Dial Study, done jointly with Arbitron. The new info reveals that Internet radio’s US weekly audience is 42 million and that figure represents 17% of Americans 12+ and has doubled since 2005. Kurt Hanson’s RAIN: Radio and Internet Newsletter did a nice job of updating a chart from last year’s Infinite Dial Study to reflect this growth. The full presentation will be released on April 16th and presented by Tom Webster of Edison Media Research at the RAIN Summit on April 20th.

RAIN's Updated Chart with Infinite Dial Study Data

RAIN's Updated Chart with Infinite Dial Study Data

Another new study, this one by American Media Services, reveals that 27% of Americans have listened to an “Internet only” radio station – that is, one that is not also broadcast over the air. This includes nearly half (47 percent) of young adults 18-24 and about a third (34 percent) of those under the age of 50. American Media Services’ latest survey also shows that 73% of Americans are listening to broadcast radio as much as they had five years ago. It’s unclear why the survey chose to identify online listening as only listening to Internet only stations, disregarding listening to Internet radio stations streamed by broadcasters.

Those surveyed indicated a preference for listening to Internet radio stations that are “free” (ad supported), however, almost a quarter responded that they were willing to pay a small monthly fee (less than $8) for access to commercial free programming.

The survey also identifies increasing demand for wireless and mobile access to Internet radio. 46% of those surveyed said they would like to have access to the internet in their cars, and 74% said they would listen to Internet radio more often if they had that access.

The study provides research evidence to support the idea that increased mobility is the big growth opportunity for Internet radio and that in car listening is a huge untapped frontier for growing online listening.

Audio4cast has a limited number of complimentary registrations to the RAIN Summit on April 20th in Las Vegas. If you would like to attend, reply to this email.

One response

  1. Hi, Jennifer–thanks for posting our data! I look forward to seeing you at the RAIN Summit.

    I have to say that I don’t much cotton to the trend line smoothing that the overlaid orange bars are supposed to represent. I think that this extrapolation makes an assumption that the weekly online radio listening figure has grown steadily year-over-year, which I am not sure is actually the case. Rather, I think there are reasons why the online listening figure has jumped dramatically this year–reasons that are unique and specific to 2008-2009, and that the smoothing of this trend line minimizes the impact of these recent phenomena. Similarly, the jump from 2005 to 2006 is also “smoothed” in this overlaid chart, when the reality is that a dramatic increase in residential broadband that year contributed to a discontinuous jump in online radio listening. The underlying data behind this chart actually shows two brief plateaus followed by significant gains; there is plenty of evidence to suggest that external factors did in fact lead to this observed behavior.

    The recent jump in adoption is great news for webcasters–and I don’t think this news needs any “smoothing!” Thanks for listening.


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