When we talk about online radio, it’s easy to view that as a trivial component in the average station’s strategy because, for any given station, the number of folks listening to that station’s stream is, while growing, comparatively small.
But that’s viewing the world through the broadcaster’s microscope. What does it look like through the consumer’s telescope?
Note, for example, this chart. It summarizes streaming data for radio, TV, and movies:
According to this source, radio’s streams (yes, including Pandora et. al.) reach 40% of 18-24’s, a third of 25-34’s, and one out of every four 35-54’s.
Interestingly, the results clearly show that while the majority of industry buzz is around streaming video, in all age groups analyzed, TV and Movies (individually and combined) were outstripped by the total reach of streaming Radio / Audio. While this may seem counterintuitive to some, a possible explanation may be a plus of audio content — it does not require fixed attention or even for the individual to remain in place. Also, Radio and any other kind of streaming can be done on the computer while working on the same device — whether for the purpose of providing background music, sports commentary or other forms of talk-based content.
Treating our online radio assets like the proverbial bastard stepchild will make us more vulnerable to publishers and advertisers who plainly see the direction of this trend and plan to explore and exploit it.
Most broadcasters get this, of course.
But all broadcasters should.
For anyone who continues to chirp that “Pandora is not radio,” I suggest you tell that to the advertiser who sees up to 40% reach on an ad-supported audio platform.