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Bouvard: Conventional Wisdom Wrong on In-Car Listening

“AM/FM radio dominates in-car ad-supported listening with nearly a 90% share”

“When it comes to streaming, there is very little ad-supported listening occurring in the car.”

That’s Pierre Bouvard commenting on the latest “Share of Ear” report from Edison Research. Bouvard is chief insights officer of Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group; he blogs frequently to comment on research that supports the value of radio advertising. 

“Advertisers often tell a story that goes something like this: ‘My niece/son/nephew/daughter is 23 and all they do in the car is listen to Spotify,’” Bouvard wrote. “These ‘sample of one’ tales are not representative of what is actually happening in America.”

Bouvard says people have listened to ad-free music in their cars for 50 years.

“Once it was CDs. Now it is music streaming that is not supported by ads. AM/FM radio dominates in-car ad-supported listening with nearly a 90% share.”

He said that among ad-supported audio sources in the car, AM/FM radio is tops, with shares in the mid to upper 80s across every buying demographic

“AM/FM radio dominates ad-supported audience shares in the car across all major buying demographics. Even among persons 18–34, AM/FM radio’s share is a whopping 85%, 85 times larger than Spotify’s one share.”

And when it comes to streaming, he continued, podcasting’s in-car shares range from 3% to 8% and are growing, “trouncing ad-supported streaming.”

He also said that in the car, ad-supported AM/FM radio shares have hovered in the high 80s for the last six years, and that most Americans only listen to AM/FM radio and never listen to Pandora and Spotify

He gave these additional conclusions from the “Share of Ear” data:

  • Among registered voters, “AM/FM radio has a massive 75% share of ad-supported audio”
  • AM/FM radio shares “are pandemic proof,” Bouvard wrote, while podcasting has surged “and Pandora collapses”
  • AM/FM radio “leads total ad-supported shares among key buying demographics while podcast shares are greater than Spotify and Pandora combined”
  • Over six years, the proportion of AM/FM radio listening occurring via online streaming has surged from 8% to 15%
  • AM/FM radio leads ad-supported listening on the smart speaker with a 43% share.

Read his post.