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Westwood One has presented seven key insights from Edison Research’s recently released “Share of Ear” report.
“Share of Ear” regularly reports how residents of the United States are consuming all forms of audio.
Each quarter, 1000 people participate in the Edison Research study by keeping a 24-hour diary of audio use. Each subsequent report represents a one-year rolling average of the data. Therefore, Q2 2021 study covers Q3 2020, Q4 2020, Q1 2021 and Q2 2021.
1. Over the last five years, Pandora and Spotify have experienced erosion in ad-supported audiences
Compared to Q2 2016, Pandora’s ad-supported audience share dropped 47%, from 7.1% to 3.8%. Spotify’s ad-supported audience share was not as drastic — from 1.6% to 1.4%.
2. Spotify’s ad-free subscription audiences soared
Since 2016, Spotify’s ad-free subscription service audience shares have jumped from 0.9% to 3.7%. In Q2 2021, 73% of Spotify listening was to its advertising-free subscription service. Five years ago, ad-supported listening was at 64%.
Westwood One points out that despite the major effort and investments Spotify has made in podcasts, Edison reported only 5% of all time spent with Spotify goes to podcasts.
3. Brands and agencies significantly overestimate Pandora and Spotify’s audiences
In July 2020, Advertiser Perceptions surveyed 300 marketers and media agencies on the audience shares of AM/FM radio, Pandora and Spotify. Considering the data in the Q2 2021 “Share of Ear” study, Westwood One notes that there is a “massive disconnect between perceptions and reality.”
Brands and agencies perceived that Spotify’s share (24%) is twelve times larger than its actual 2% share. They perceived Pandora’s audience share to be six times larger than reality (3%).
AM/FM radio’s perceived share (35%) is 17% smaller than its actual 41% share. Per Edison, AM/FM radio’s audience is 21 times larger than Spotify and 14 times larger than Pandora.
4. Podcast audiences have tripled since 2017
Ad-supported share for podcasts in Q2 2021 (11%) is three times the share from Q2 2017 (4%) among over 18 year olds. All of the growth in ad-supported audio is coming from podcasting.
5. Audio is pandemic proof as AM/FM radio represents three-fourths of all ad-supported audio
The pandemic did not cause major disruption in audio use. Comparing shares of ad-supported audio from Q2 2020 to Q2 2021 reveals little change. At a 76% share, AM/FM radio continues to dominate ad-supported audio.
6. AM/FM radio owns the car with a 90% share of ad-supported audio six years in a row
Since Edison began the “Share of Ear” study, AM/FM radio’s in-car share of ad-supported audio has hovered around a 90% share. AM/FM radio owns the “last mile” of shopping trips before purchases are made.
7. Streaming now represents 15% of 25–54-year-olds’ AM/FM radio listening
Since 2016, the share of AM/FM radio time spent occurring via the stream has grown from 8% to 15%. Streaming is now bigger than AM radio, which represents 10% of listening.
Watch a video commentary by Westwood One’s Pierre Bouvard here.