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AM/FM reaches more than US streaming audio services

Studies by Nielsen, Edison Research and Advertiser Perceptions reveal the audience for AM/FM radio greatly exceeds listening to streaming services, in stark contrast to advertiser estimates.

The study was commissioned by Cumulus, Westwood One, iHeartMedia, Alpha Media, Beasley Media Group, CBS Radio, Cox Media Group, Emmis, Entercom, Greater Media, Hubbard Radio, RAB, Radio One, Townsquare Media and Univision Radio to compare advertisers’ perceptions of American audio consumption versus actual usage.

Key findings include:
•    Advertisers estimate that 64 per cent of Americans are reached by AM/FM but the actual Nielsen weekly reach is 93 per cent.
•    Advertisers and agencies perceive the audience share of Pandora and Spotify to be nearly the same as AM/FM. In reality, AM/FM’s audience share is 9X Pandora and 17X that of Spotify.
•    Nielsen data also shows that radio reaches 93 per cent of Millennials-22 per cent more Millennials than TV. TV misses one in four Millennials.

“Advertisers and agencies drastically underestimate the reach of AM/FM radio,” said Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey. “This study is the first conclusive evidence of the major gap in actual and imagined performance of AM/FM and streaming outlets.”

“The most recent Nielsen Total Audience Report showed that radio is now the number one reach medium, surpassing TV with total audience and Millennials by an even greater margin,” added iHeartMedia Chairman/CEO Bob Pittman. “This research makes it clear that while TV and new forms of media may get more attention, they don’t come near the reach of radio; radio is truly the mass reach mobile media.”

“Radio’s reach has remained consistent despite new forms of audio programming and an increasingly fragmented media landscape,” said CBS Radio President Andre Fernandez. “Streaming has proven to be a popular platform, but not at the expense of radio’s growing total audience.”
“This study shows that app downloads and user stats don’t equal audience. While consumers may have these music apps on their devices, it doesn’t mean they use them as part of their everyday radio listening habits,” commented Mark A. Kaline, former head of media at Ford Motor Company and Kimberly-Clark. “As a marketer, I’ve always found radio to be a medium that effectively and efficiently delivers reach over an extended period of time, while driving ROI within the total communications plan. But radio has been too low profile with brands, especially in light of other advancements in technology. Radio needs to be more aggressively marketing their story as the leading mass reach media.”

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