Audio Landscape for 2021


Audio consumption patterns are continuing to shift as younger consumers gravitate towards digital streaming and podcasts. Ocean Media has expanded share of budgets to align with shifting media consumption across multiple brands and found success with streaming audio tactics to deliver business results. Based on the performance and measurement capabilities, more clients are looking shift budgets into digital audio in 2021. Here are some key insights into the changing consumption patterns:

Terrestrial radio had a hold on reach historically and as recently as 2Q’18 garnered a 62% share of reach compared with mobile and tablet streaming. As of Q1 of this year that share of reach was 50%. When comparing Q1 of 2020 with Q1 of 2019 we see that streaming increased its reach by 26%. The net takeaway on reach is that traditional radio is flat while streaming has grown considerably over the past two years and is now at near parody with terrestrial from a reach perspective.

Streaming audio and terrestrial radio impressions

Despite a similar reach for both digital audio and terrestrial, the amount of time listening to traditional radio is quite high compared with streaming. This is likely due to the amount of time spent in cars with the radio playing.

Time Spent Listening to Audio and Radio

Despite the lower time spent numbers, the digital growth story is strong with time spent on streaming audio which has increased 82% YoY for A18-34 in Q1’20. With varying Covid-19 restrictions along with people spending more time at home and less in the car, we can expect the trend of reduced time spent with traditional radio and more time spent with streaming audio continue.

Streaming audio time spent A18-34

Podcasts have been around since the ‘80s, however syndicated research data availability lags compared to that of AM/FM and digital. In the recent Share of Ear study by Edison we see total time spent listening to podcasts up 15% YoY with younger adults making up the majority of listening at 39%. With the growth of streaming we can assume the reach of Podcasts is on the rise and will also take share away from terrestrial.

Time spent listening
Time Spent Listening to Podcasts
Podcast Listeners by Age
Podcast Listeners by Age

For marketers to feel comfortable with new channels, quality measurement is needed for attribution of performance. Streaming audio at the moment has the better mouse trap while Podcasts are in their infancy but look promising.

Sources: Nielsen TAR (Q1’19-Q1’20), Comscore (Nov ’19-Oct-’20), Edison- Triton Podcast Consumer