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Web-only listeners hit new highs, study finds.


New data shows a small but growing group of people who listen to radio exclusively via the internet.  GroupM Next reports a 5% year-over-year increase in internet-only radio listeners and a corresponding 5% decrease in broadcast-only listeners.

The division of ad giant WPP charged with analyzing digital trends includes the online streams of AM/FM stations and web pureplays like Pandora and Slacker in its definition of internet radio.  While the number of internet-only radio listeners is increasing, they amount to only 15% of the population, compared to 61% who say they listen exclusively to broadcast radio.  Another 24% indicate they listen to both.  The survey is based on a sample of 1,000 U.S. radio listeners.

Although the broadcast-only camp remains far larger, GroupM Next insights manager Steve Sherfy says radio listeners can be divided into two distinct groups:  “primary traditional,” which mostly prefer broadcast radio, and “avid internet” radio listeners.  With similar income and education levels, both are equally attractive to advertisers.  But the “avid internet” group reached those qualitative milestones about 13 years earlier than the broadcast primaries.

“They have 13 years more of spending power and influence, and thus more disposable income,” Sherfy told RAIN Summit attendees yesterday in Orlando.   “They are a brand’s dream, especially since they can be targeted a lot more micro than you can with broadcast radio.”


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