How many businesses/practices are advertising on radio? I am still a big fan of public radio as the audience tends to be very upscale and sponsorships are limited by comparison to commercial radio. A little bit of history for you, as to my bona fides…I have been the marketing head for a national sporting goods chain, a national jewelry store chain, a university with campuses from coast to coast, and dozens of eye care practices large and small across the country.I have purchased north of $25 million in radio time over my career, so it would be hard to call me anti-radio.
However, I see streaming as a huge interrupter. Streaming is BIG! Americans streamed some 377 billion songs in 2017, up 50% from 2016. This is a trend that will continue to grow in 2018. More than 30 million Americans paid for music subscriptions in the US according to the Recording Industry Association of America in the first half of 2017.
Spotify has signaled that it intends on going public this year. They have over 70 million paid subscriptions around the world and another 80 million who use the free service. Let’s add Apple’s 30 million Apple Music subscribers, and Pandora’s 81 million users, Amazon Prime Music, 16 million subscribers, and you can see why traditional commercial radio might be in trouble.
Here is the music you want when you want it, and with paid subscriptions, all that content comes without commercial interruptions too. Radio revenues have remained relatively flat for the past 8 years.
According to Nielsen Media Research, 91% of Americans listened to terrestrial radio in any given week in the US. Yet, 61% of Americans over the age of 12 have also listened to online radio in any given week as well. Some 40% of Americans have listened to online radio via their mobile phones in the car last year.
Finally, we statistics that show some 25% of Americans or just over 75 million Americans listened to a podcast in the past month. 112 million Americans have listened to a podcast at least once in the past year. Personally, my commute to and from the office 6 days a week is filled with streaming podcasts delivered from my mobile phone to my car stereo via Bluetooth. Podcasts seem to have a pretty bright future. The mean time spent listening to podcasts is just over 5 hours a week. Then again, there are some quarter million different podcasts to choose from.
Just like print, just like TV, we now have a huge choice and diversity in what we can and do listen to at home, in our cars, and in our offices. Is radio advertising a thing of the past? Radio has always been a wonderful equalizer of businesses. Unlike TV, it doesn’t cost much to produce a good radio commercial and radio is much more locally oriented than TV. A good radio commercial has the power of painting a wonderful picture in 30 or 60 seconds. I did it for years. I did it from coast to coast. I did it for national companies and very small businesses alike.The question I am posing here for your consideration, is the audio market too fragmented for ECP’s to sponsor anymore?
Please share your radio success or failure stories.