Sweden: Live radio increasingly pressured by audio streaming

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Swedish adults spend more and more time listening to streamed audio. Mediavision analysis reveal that younger adults are driving the development, while the older population prefers traditional radio to digital alternatives. Of course, this has substantial effects for the players within audio.

In Sweden, 15–74-year-olds spend 99 minutes consuming audio-based media an average day. Approximately half is allocated to digital audio like streamed music, podcasts and audiobooks. Nevertheless, live radio remains the single most popular form of audio, mainly driven by the age group 65-74. Within this group, as much as 80 per cent of the total listening is allocated to live radio. Among the 15–24-year-olds, the opposite is true – barely a 20 per cent share of listening is spent on live radio. How much time we spend consuming audio in total is also related to our age. The youngest and oldest (15-24-year-olds and 65-74-year-olds as per Mediavision definition) have the highest total consumption in average minutes per day.

Listening to audiobooks and podcasts is less age-correlated than music and radio. Audiobooks represent approximately 8 per cent share of listening – slightly higher among the younger and lower among the older. Podcasts attract the highest number of listeners among 15–44-year-olds and in some segments, the podcast share of listening is on par with live radio. But it is also a fact that podcasts have not yet drawn a large listening in the older segments (among 65–74-year-olds, only a 2 per cent share of listening).

Differences in audio consumption between age groups is not new. Nevertheless, the ongoing digitalisation brings forward challenges for the industry. Traditional radio meets an increasing competition over the listener’s time. Audio streaming actors, on the other hand, face fierce competition over subscribers. Mediavision expects this development to intensify even further with local players likely facing an increasing battle over both listener and revenues.


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