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March 27, 2020

No Driving, No Worries. Nielsen Study Shows Audio Consumption Remains Strong

By Idil Cakim, SVP of Research and Insights, Audacy

The latest Nielsen Pulse study about audio consumption during the Coronavirus pandemic debunks an uninformed hypothesis that people are listening to less radio because they are spending less time in their cars. The results clearly demonstrate that people are actively consuming the same, if not MORE, audio content—radio in particular—at home through multiple devices.

For advertisers and brand stewards navigating shifts in daily schedules and traditional media dayparts, it’s important to note:

  • The majority of US adults (83%) are listening to more ad-supported radio content.
  • Young adults (18-24) 64% indicate increased radio consumption amid the crisis.
  • Nearly half (44%) actively seek new ways to consume radio content while commuting less.

More time at home reveals increased consumption of radio across more devices:

info graph household

Importantly, the Nielsen study also reveals a critical ‘why’ behind these strong numbers. People crave connection to voices they trust within the communities they live, even more so in times of duress. During the COVID-19 crisis, local radio delivers deep engagement with 53% of consumers saying their local hosts help them feel more informed, and 42% saying that radio provides them comfort.

In particular, heavy radio listeners and crisis content seekers have strong, unbreakable emotional bonds with radio:

Local Hosts Connect Communities

connect community

This trust and reliance have a direct implication on purchase behaviors. Three-quarters of crisis news seekers (74%) and almost half (46%) of US adults indicate that they turn to local hosts to learn where to shop and which stores are open. No other media can deliver this immediacy and relevance.

Today, advertisers and agencies face tremendous pressure to maintain performance. Given the role local radio plays in helping communities navigate through the crisis, brands looking for share of mind—and share of heart—would be remiss not to leverage radio’s power to connect and engage during significant home time, across many touchpoints throughout the day.

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