Radio Research Consortium's just-released analysis of Nielsen Audio data for PPM markets over the course of the pandemic shows total average weekly cume listeners in Spring 2021 revisited the 130 million mark, 95% of where it was in Winter 2020 before COVID. At the same time, total average quarter hour listening, up 11% from Winter to Spring 2021 to pass 8 million, is at 89% of pre-pandemic levels. During Spring 2021, three PPM markets – Providence, Salt Lake City and Raleigh – actually outperformed Winter 2020 in average quarter hour listening, while Indianapolis, Philadelphia and Milwaukee were among those over the 90% mark.
As more listeners returned to offices, weekday listening hit its highest levels in Spring 2021 since the beginning of the pandemic, now at 86% of Winter 2020's PUMM (persons using measured media). As further evidence of a return to pre-COVID listening habits, the peak time for weekday listening, which moved to between noon to 1pm during Spring 2020, was back at 3-4pm during Spring 2021.
RRC's analysis also shows that over the course of the pandemic, out-of-home listening never lost its lead in Nielsen's PPM markets, even during Spring 2020's lockdown when out-of-home PUMM led in-home, 3.9 million to 2.8 million respectively. Additionally, out-of-home's share of PPM listening has been a steady 65% since Summer 2020, now at 66% for Spring 2021, while in-home is down to 34%.