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Nielsen Report Tracks Growth of Audio Landscape

Network radio and streaming media reach out to more Americans

Nielsen’s most recent State of the Media report is a snapshot of the listening landscape from many aspects, including network radio and streaming audio. As with other areas of the audio medium, the numbers are looking up.

The content of network radio runs the gamut from syndicated audio, such as 24-hour music channels to sports talk, news and political analysis, along with some of the biggest personalities in the business. Nielsen’s research suggests that over 95% of radio listeners tune in to a network-affiliated station every week. This holds true for listeners from the 12+, 18–49 and 25–54 demographics.

The State of the Media report also ranked streaming audio by devices, and smartphones have emerged as the clear leader. The growth over 2016 alone is impressive, beginning with 80,913,159 in January, to 104,141,253 in December. That’s an increase of 23 million listeners in 12 months. Lagging far behind are tablets, with 30, 398,351 in December of 2016, and still further back, PCs, with 23,406,636 over the same period.

Nielsen Audio Managing Director Brad Kelly adds that the data from these services is creating a new world of audience metrics. Statistics such as Marketing Mix Modeling, Return on Ad Spent and Cross-Media Incremental Reach are going beyond reporting how many people are listening and when, to providing insights on how and why radio advertising works.