It’s often treated as a fact that young adults don’t listen to radio and prefer pirate music, but a recent USA TouchPoints survey (via Radio and Internet Newsletter) says that a full 40% of Americans aged 18–24 listen to streaming audio online every week.
Older demographics are also tuning in online, with 34% of 25–34 year-olds, 25% of 35–54 year-olds and 19% of 54–64 year-olds listening to streaming audio each week. This includes services like Pandora and Spotify, as well as online radio.
Of course, it’s all radio to us Radio Survivors, because listeners use these services just like radio. Analyst Mark Ramsey argues a similar point, writing,
For anyone who continues to chirp that “Pandora is not radio,” I suggest you tell that to the advertiser who sees up to 40% reach on an ad-supported audio platform.
As obvious as this opportunity seems, there’s one prominent radio executive who doesn’t agree. Cumulus Media CEO appeared on Bloomberg TV last week to discuss the launch of a new country station in New York City. He also took questions about streaming, which he acknowledged is “expanding,” claiming that Cumulus has become “the third largest streaming platform” after Pandora and Clear Channel, without putting any effort behind it.
Yet Dickey also says that he doesn’t yet see a business model in streaming, which he reduces to being primarily mobile, because radio is “principally an in-car media.” Since display ads do not work well on mobile devices, he argues there’s not a good revenue opportunity in streaming.
Though commercial radio is not my background, this seems quite short-sighted to me, as does counting out streaming listeners who are tuning in from desktops, laptops and tablets. Such an attitude is practically begging services like Pandora to eat one’s lunch.