Edison Research

Edison Research has released a quarterly update for its industry-standard “Share of Ear” report, which digs in deep to understand how Americans consume all forms of audio each day. The news is mighty fine for AM/FM radio: According to the Q4 2018 report, AM/FM radio accounts for 80% of the daily time spent with ad-supported audio.

Meanwhile, more than half, 58%, of the total time spent with audio now goes to ad-supported platforms. Examples of this media include AM/FM radio, podcasts and the versions of Spotify and Pandora that accept ads. AM/FM radio’s share of total audio time spent is 46%.

“AM/FM radio is not only the centerpiece of audio, it is also the king of ad-supported audio,” notes Westwood One in its coverage of the Share of Ear research on its “Everybody’s Listening” blog.

In fourth quarter 2018, Spotify, for the first time, edged out Pandora in share of audio time spent among adults 18+, 4.9% versus 4.7%. Spotify’s growth is powered by its ad-free subscription service, Edison reports. Since the Q3 2016 Share of Ear Report, Spotify’s ad-free subscription share has tripled, growing from 1.1% in Q3 2016 to 3.1% in Q4 2018.

Meanwhile, since Q3 2016, Pandora’s share of audio time spent and reach have both fallen dramatically, as has been consistently reported by Inside Radio. Pandora’s time spent share fell from 6.3% in Q3 2016 to 4.7% in Q4 2018, a 25% decline. Pandora’s daily reach decreased from 14.4% in Q3 2016 to 11.7% in Q4 2018, a 20% decline.

Moving to podcasts, Edison’s “Share of Ear” reports that the daily reach for podcasts has grown markedly among buying demos over the past two years. Daily reach for Millennials, 18-34, grew by 55% from Q4 2016 to Q4 2018, from 11.1% to 17.2%. Adults 25-54 daily reach has more than doubled since Q4 2016, from 6.4% in Q4 2016 to 13.9% in Q4 2018, a mammoth 117% increase.