Test Your Knowledge: Perception and Reality of American Audio Audiences

The U.S. radio industry wanted to understand the perceived and actual audience size of AM/FM and streaming services.¬† Westwood One turned to the leaders in advertiser sentiment (Advertiser Perceptions), online audio usage (Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” Study), and media measurement (Nielsen) to conduct a first-of-a-kind study.

Click here an excellent piece written by Pierre Bouvard, the former President of Sales for Arbitron, and recently named CMO of Cumulus Radio/Westwood One Radio Networks.


Is Radio’s Story Getting Through?

You’ve read about it hundreds of times on these pages, about how radio has to do a better job at telling its own story. Especially when Nielsen (and Arbitron) consistently state that over 90% of the population listens to the radio every week. The industry pushed out a compilation of data yesterday hoping it can be used to help change the minds of advertising decision-makers. The takeaway from the data Westwood One released is that the perception advertisers have about radio just doesn’t jibe with the numbers Nielsen is putting out. Let’s dig into what was released by Westwood…

To be clear, the information pushed out by Westwood states it came from new studies done by Nielsen, Edison Research, and Advertiser Perceptions. The three studies were done earlier in the year and are used for the purposes of this release and a new blog written by Cumulus’ Pierre Bouvard (READ IT). Nielsen’s “Total Audience Report” was issued in Q1 2015.¬†Advertiser Perceptions conducted an online study of 327 decision-makers between May 11 and May 14, 2015. And, Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” study was done in Q2.

Bouvard states in his blog that the perception, according to the Advertiser Perceptions survey, is that agencies and advertisers think 64% of Americans are reached by AM/FM radio and the reality is, according to Nielsen, 93% of Americans are reached by AM/FM radio. Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey says, “Advertisers and agencies drastically underestimate the reach of AM/FM radio. This study is the first conclusive evidence of the major gap in actual and imagined performance of AM/FM and streaming outlets.”

Bouvard then went to the younger generation. The generation radio is always told it’s losing to digital: the millenials. He digs into the last Nielsen “Total Audience Report” to state that radio dominates television 93% to 76% in reach among 18- to 34-year-olds. Bouvard’s blog then quotes iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman who says, “The most recent Nielsen Total Audience Report showed that radio is now the number one reach medium, surpassing TV with total audience and millennials by an even greater margin. This research makes it clear that while TV and new forms of media may get more attention, they don’t come near the reach of radio; radio is truly the mass reach mobile medium.”

Advertisers and agencies also believe that Pandora and Spotify reach 27% and 20% of Americans respectively, according to Advertiser Perceptions. Bouvard goes back to the Edison Edison “Share of Ear” study which stated Pandora only reaches 15% of Americans; Spotify only reaches 5%. Bouvard says, “That means, each day 85% of Americans are not reached by Pandora; 95% are not reached by Spotify.”

So about radio continuing to tell it’s story; that it provides the best RO.I, that it is undervalued, and that it is not getting its fair share of the advertiser dollar, Bouvard says, “The American radio industry must spread the reality of our amazing reach to the advertising community. Starting today, we are sharing the truth about how many consumers are reached by the power of AM/FM radio.”

Originally posted on Radio Ink Magazine