Programmatic Lunch

Online Audio Streaming On The Up

David Murphy

[caption id="attachment_54808" align="alignleft" width="150"]Spotify June 2015 Spotify emerged from the research as the most popular online streaming service[/caption]

Consumers are abandoning traditional radio listening in favour of online audio streaming, according to a study conducted by Mirror Image, a streaming media and content delivery company.

The study, Radio Evolution: From Waves to Online Streaming, found that 43 per cent of consumers haven’t listened to their AM/FM radio at home for more than a year. It also found that consumers are listening to audio content across a multitude of devices, from smartphones to tablets to Smart TVs. 50 per cent of respondents said they listen to online audio content from smartphones more than via other channels. Only 13 per cent said they pay for their online audio streaming services.

The study also found that listeners are tuning in during their working day. Nearly 80 per cent of respondents listen to audio content while at work. As consumers lend more “ear time” than “eye time,” Mirror Image notes that advertisers must be poised to take advantage during this prime time for audio listening. However, they also need to ensure that they are effectively targeting their audiences on digital audio channels. According to the survey, 30 per cent of respondents said they find online radio ads “very annoying,” while 27 per cent claim that the ads are never relevant to their interests. When creating campaigns for OTT audio content, advertisers must consider the type of device users are listening on, their location, and the platform used to consume the content.

In the study, 50 per cent of respondents said they audiences stream online content to smartphones, 36 per cent to desktops or laptops, and 3 per cent to tablets and smart TVs. In terms of location, 79 per cent said they listened to online audio content during the working day, while 50 per cent said they did so in their car.

As for platforms, Spotify was the most popular the streaming service on 22 per cent, followed by Pandora (21 per cent), and iTunes and iHear Radio (both 16 per cent). Despite the study’s assertion that AM/FM radio listening is on the wane, however, no single digital platform has yet usurped it. AM/FM topped all the online streaming services on 24 per cent.

“Our Radio Evolution survey confirms that broadcast is continuing its rapid evolution toward digital,” said Mirror Image chief revenue officer, Charles White. “As audio consumption patterns shift, existing strategies for reaching consumers through traditional broadcast are less relevant, which could cause a decline in engagement and action. Broadcasters and advertisers must respond by leveraging the right technologies to ensure they are delivering digital content that is optimized for where and when their audiences are listening.”

With only 13 per cent of people willing to pay for online audio programming, Mirror Image notes that ad partners will be key to monetizing broadcast content, and that failure to ensure content is optimized on all digital devices and online radio platforms, regardless of consumer preference, will result in substantial loss in revenue.

There’s an infographic summarising the findings of the study here.