December 2, 2020

Audio is Big & Loud: OTA Rises, Streaming Surges Ahead

By Idil Cakim, SVP Research and Insights, Audacy

Audio has emerged from the COVID crisis big and loud. Broadcast Over-the-Air (OTA) remains solid, as the centerpiece of Audio experiences. Since September, OTA reach has been at 97% of March levels[1] and out-of-home listening comprises about 70 percent of all listening — getting back to pre-COVID levels[2]. According to Nielsen’s latest Total Audience Report[3], radio has the highest reach in the media mix — ahead of live and time-shifted TV.

Streaming — through mobile devices and smart speakers — have made Audio experiences all the more pervasive, broadening the Audio market and presenting advertisers with additional touch points to connect with their audiences. As consumers resume activities outside of home, streaming remains high. As of October 2020 Audacy’s total streaming hours logged double-digit growth for the 15th month in a row. Audacy’s smart speaker listening has been surging, posting +78% YOY gains[4].  Data from Triton Digital’s Webcast metrics confirms that Audacy’s YOY lifts in streaming and smart speaker listening are significantly higher than the market average[5]. The consistent gains in streaming hours underscores Audio’s essential role in daily life and suggests Audio technology adoption will steam ahead, past COVID-stricken days.

Make no mistake, the rise of streaming does not diminish OTA listening. According to a recent survey conducted by Triton[6], there is a significant overlap between traditional OTA and streaming audiences. And these digital Audio consumers are more likely to tune into OTA content than choose custom streaming playlists: While 9 in 10 smart speaker (87%) and mobile (86%) listeners also tune into OTA content weekly, fewer (69% of mobile and 67% of smart speaker)  choose services such as Pandora or Spotify. As the Share of Ear Study from Edison Research shows, among ad-supported Audio sources, time spent listening to OTA content (72%) trumps AI-driven playlists from Pandora (7%) and Spotify (4%).

The future is Audio. Today, it is the medium of choice. Technological advancements (e.g., smart speakers and cars, screenless mobile technologies) will further fuel its reach and engage audiences for increasing periods of time at home and beyond.

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[1] Nielsen March-September, October, November 2020 PPM / 45 Market Total / M-Su 6a-12M / Persons 12+ / AQH Persons (Persons Using Radio)
[2] Nielsen March-September, October, November 2020 PPM / 45 Market Total / M-F 6a-7p / Persons 18+ / AQH Persons by Location
[3] Nielsen, Total Audience Report, November 2020.
[4] Triton Digital, All Dayparts Oct ‘19, Oct ‘20, Mon-Sun 6AM-Mid.
[5] Triton Digital, September 2019-September 2020, M-F 6AM-8PM, M-Sun 6AM-Mid.
[6] Triton Digital streaming radio survey fielded in the United States from July 14-20, 2020.  The survey was fielded to 1,000 listeners of online radio stations that reported listening within the seven days prior.

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