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Radio Holds Steady in Infinite Dial 2022 South Africa

Edison Research finds significant increases in online listening in the country

Edison Research’s second look at South Africa through its Infinite Dial methodology finds online audio use has exploded over the past four years.

In the 2019 Infinite Dial South Africa report, 39% of respondents 15+ in major metro areas reported using online audio. In the 2022 report, that number increased to 61% of respondents.

Weekly radio listening held steady from 2019 to 2022 with 69% of respondents reporting having listened to the radio in the past week, up one percentage point from 68% in 2019. Ninety-four percent of respondents reported having at least one radio in their home, although 64% of respondents said they used a mobile phone, computer or television for in-home radio listening too, which was a significant (44%) increase from 2019.

Comparison of 2019 to 2022 reported radio listening in the past week among those 15+ (Edison Research)

In terms of in-car listening, 80% of respondents 18+ reported having tuned to AM/FM radio while driving or as a passenger within the past month.

Ninety percent of respondents 15+ reported owning a smartphone in 2022, and 32% said they owned a smart speaker. More than a third (36%) of people in 2022 reported having ever downloaded an AM/FM radio station’s smartphone app.

Podcasting also saw substantial gains with 26% of respondents 15+ listening to podcasts at least monthly in 2022 compared to 10% in 2019. Fourth-eight percent of respondents said they were aware of podcasts even if they didn’t listen to them.

Podcast listeners were slightly more likely to be male than female (53% to 47%) and aged 15–34 (51%), compared to 35–54 (38%) or 55+ (11%). Of the 20% of people who reported listening to podcasts weekly, they listened to four episodes on average each week.

Comparison of radio ownership in South Africa and the U.S. (Edison Research)

When it comes to streaming audio services, YouTube Music had the greatest brand awareness with 69% of those 15+ being aware of the service. Spotify followed at 36% and Joox, an Asia-based streamer that launched in South Africa in 2017, at 27%.

The Infinite Dial 2022 South Africa survey was conducted by Edison Research in November/December 2021 with in-person interviews of 1,500 people living in eight major metropolitan municipalities in South Africa: Nelson Mandela Bay, Mangaung, Johannesburg, eThekwini, Cape Town, Buffalo City, Tshwane, and Ekurhuleni. The data was weighted to reflect the gender, age, and race of the population. No margin of error was reported.

The National Association of Broadcasters South Africa commissioned the survey, which was sponsored by Triton Digital, and produced in association with The Broadcast Research Council of South Africa.

Larry Rosin, President of Edison Research, shared findings from the study in an online presentation today. Rosin added, “The increase in online audio consumption and podcast listening among those we surveyed in South Africa points to a space that can accommodate many audio platforms while radio stays strong. We hope this data that shows robust growth in audio consumption motivates advertisers to consider all of these various audiences.”