Bridge Ratings: 60 Million Listening to Internet Radio in the US

Bridge Ratings has released a new study on Internet radio listeners that provides some insight into the differences between listeners to AM/FM stations’ streams and pure-play, or Internet-only stations. Over 60 million Americans are listening to Internet radio weekly, with 84% spending at least five minutes listening to AM/FM streams and 62% to Internet based stations. AM/FM streams see a higher tsl as well, averaging about 2.5 hours per day versus 1.4 hours per day for Internet only stations.

But expect that to change. According to this report, AM/FM streams are at risk of losing audience because of their approach to streaming, which is generally simply a redistribution of their over the air content. Internet radio listeners think Internet only stations are more adventurous and provide more options for music discovery. Dave Van Dyke, President of Bridge Ratings, recommends that AM/FM stations develop alternative channels for their streams to offset future audience attrition.

When it comes to who is listening on mobile devices, Internet only listeners listen 18% of the time while AM/FM listeners spend only 8%. This of course, is a factor in the lower time spent listening number that Internet only stations have, as mobile listening sessions are going to be shorter than in-office or other more static listening.

There are some good takeaways in this research for AM/FM online stations that wish to optimize their audience growth. Broadcasters must stop viewing their streaming platform as a replay of their AM/FM programming and create new, exciting, alternative programming for their listeners. As I said in my list of ways to build a better digital presence, station managers must shift their thinking away from the idea that the on-air product is the most important element of their business, and recognize that the content is what matters.

One response

  1. I’ll have to read his report — what could he possibly mean by recommending “that AM/FM stations develop alternative channels for their streams to offset future audience attrition”?

    Is a local FM station supposed to develop new programming for a) HD3, b) HD3, c) multiple streams? I would think this would be an iron clad guarantee of attrition. The station and the listeners would be too confused to continue!

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