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EdisonTriton-Online-Radio-Reach-Consumption-2008-2014-Mar2014Some 36% of Americans aged 12 and up listen to online radio on a weekly basis, up from 33% last year and 29% a year earlier, according to the latest annual “Infinite Dial” [pdf] report from Edison Research and Triton Digital. Alongside rising reach comes increased time spent with the medium, too: on average, weekly online radio listeners report spending 13 hours and 19 minutes per week listening, up from slightly less than 12 hours per week in last year’s study. No wonder a recent report from the Radio Advertising Bureau found optimism surrounding digital ad sales growth.

Meanwhile, although Edison’s study this year doesn’t measure online video viewership, the report last year indicated that among weekly users, online radio consumption was far higher than online video viewing, and it’s unlikely that this has changed.

Almost half – 47% – of the 12+ population this year reports listening to online radio at least monthly, a figure that represents a modest increase from the 2013 report (45%). A more recent survey from Edison Research had pegged the total audience at 53% of the 12+ population, though that survey didn’t reference listening frequency.

Not surprisingly given that it’s a digital medium, the audience skews young. Among both monthly and weekly listeners, the 25-54 age group skews closely to the overall average, while the 12-24 bracket over-indexes significantly (75% listen monthly; 64% weekly).

When it comes to advertising, 80% of weekly AM/FM radio listeners agree that listening to commercials is a fair price to pay for free programming, and 75% of weekly online radio listeners agree. Weekly listeners of both AM/FM and online radio on a weekly basis tend to feel that AM/FM radio has more commercials than online radio (69% vs. 17%) and has commercials that are more of an intrusion (47% vs. 30%). But, they feel that AM/FM has commercials more relevant to them than online radio (44% vs. 32%).

In other results from the study:

  • Pandora is the clear internet audio leader in terms of brand awareness (70% of respondents aged 12 and up), although iHeartRadio (48%) and iTunes Radio (47%) also are competitive;
  • Some 31% of monthly internet radio listeners (55% of those aged 12-24) tuned in to Pandora during the month prior to the survey, compared to 9% for iHeartRadio and 8% for iTunes Radio (see here for Experian’s latest ranking of the top radio sites by share of desktop visits);
  • Among weekly online radio listeners, desktops/laptops (67%) and smartphones (66%) are clearly the most commonly used devices for listening, with tablets (34%) a ways behind;
  • 55% of respondents have at some point used YouTube to watch music videos or listen to music. and one-third did so in the week prior to the survey;
  • Among respondents aged 18 and up who had driven or ridden in a car in the month prior to the survey, AM/FM radio was the top medium for listening (86%), followed by a CD player (61%), MP3 player/owned digital music (31%), satellite radio (17%) and then online radio (14%);
  • 50% of smartphone owners report having downloaded Pandora to their device, a figure mostly in line with comScore estimates;
  • 3 in 10 respondents have ever listened to an audio podcast, and half of those have listened in the past month; and
  • While AM/FM radio is viewed as the most important source for keeping up-to-date with music, YouTube takes the lead among 12-24-year-olds.

About the Data: The data is based on a national telephone survey conducted by Edison Research in January and February 2014 among 2,023 people aged 12 and older using random digit dialing techniques. The survey was offered in English and Spanish and both landlines and cell phones were called. The data was weighted to national 12+ population figures.

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