Curated Audio Content Wins Over Pureplay Lists

By Idil Cakim, SVP Head of Research and Frank Williamson, Sr. Insights Analyst, Audacy 

From the morning news coming through their earbuds to the podcast during the dog walk, and the tunes in the car and during workout sessions, Audio consumers seek original content about their interest areas. They spend the grand majority of their listening time with ad-supported AM/FM (66%) and podcast (19%) content1. And when media plans skew towards digital pureplays (e.g, Pandora, Spotify, etc), brands cut their time with audiences short, miss out on opportunities to engage and convert shoppers to buyers. Here’s how:


AM/FM radio dominates digital pureplays in reach across all key age cohorts. As Nielsen’s most recent Total Audio report confirms, audiences stick with their radio for a long time, whether at home, at work or during their commute.

Now, Audacy’s Cross-Platform Listening Study2 reveals that digital pureplay audiences are actually radio lovers. 6 in 10 (55%) digital pureplay listeners are also ad-supported AM/FM consumers. Plans that solely focus on digital pureplays are not getting an exclusive audience. They are not scaling to meet the audience in moments that matter. And brands are missing opportunities to connect with consumers.


Digital pureplay audiences seek radio because of Content and Community. They find radio programming interesting and relevant. They appreciate the quality of curated content and the community their radio hosts create. They yearn for human connection, indicating that digital-only Audio platforms lack this personal touch. And one-half agrees that radio is more fun and entertaining than their personal playlists. 

These trends are not for just the seasoned listener. Younger audiences are pretty enthusiastic when expressing their love of radio over pureplays. Compared to average listeners:


Advertising dollars work harder with radio and podcast audiences than with digital pureplay listeners. Radio and podcast content fans are just more ready to spend. Compared with digital pureplay fans, 

  • Radio listeners are more likely to be in the market for home or auto insurance (+16%). Telecom providers?
  • Streaming OTA listeners are +33% more likely to switch to a new carrier than digital pureplay listeners
  • Computer (+21%) and smart speaker (+17%) brands will be more at home with podcast listeners. 

Radio and podcast consumers are optimists who are curious about the world around them. They like to understand events, uncover how things work and jump on new trends. And their quest for ideas and recommendations result in sales. Streaming radio (+28%) and podcast (+22%) listeners are much more likely than pureplay listeners to make purchases after hearing an audio ad. 2

Takeaway: Audio consumers are becoming increasingly platform agnostic, appreciating the variety of curated content and tapping into communities with like-minded influencers and hosts. In today’s media landscape, scaling media plans with radio, streaming and podcasts is a must to get the full benefit of reaching the right audiences at the right time. Total Audio, offering broad reach, deep engagement and impact across radio and podcast platforms, is the way to optimize media plans and see tangible results. 

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    1. Edison Research, Share of Ear, Q2 2023

    1. Audacy, Cross-Platform Listening Study, Suzy Insights, June 2023, n=1,241, P18+

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