Westwood One 2018

While television erosion continues at a steady pace, younger audiences are fleeing the medium faster than any other demo. In addition, despite TV’s long-standing ranking as the No. 1 overall media platform, Deloitte reports that by 2025, Millennials will spend more time with AM/FM radio than television.

A new post from Westwood One on its “Everyone’s Listening” blog notes, “Marketers who need to reach younger audiences face an uphill battle as media habits of preteens, teens and young adults have shifted. In 2019, television needs some help to fully deliver 6- to 24-year-olds.” In fact, Americans are spending significantly less time today with TV than they were in the early part of this decade. The losses are most drastic among younger audiences: Nielsen reports that from Q1 2011 to Q3 2018, persons 2-34 spent 50% to 60% less time with TV.

In the 12-17 age group, the difference from 2011 to 2018 is dramatic: -62%. For 18-34, the numbers are not much better, at -58%. Even post-Millennials, 35-49, are watching less TV, -37%.

Among the primary issues for youngsters, according to the post, is that kids cable network audience erosion is an ongoing issue. Looking at year-over-year quarterly kids cable network audience deliveries for Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, TV has seen steady decreases, writes Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer at Cumulus/Westwood One. On average, the kids cable year-over-year quarterly decline from Q2 2017 to Q2 2019 was -25%.

Here is where traditional radio fares better. According to Deloitte, looking at these current rates of decline, Millennials will be more engaged with AM/FM radio than TV by 2025. In part, this is based on daily time spent in minutes among those 18-34: TV’s compound annual growth rate between Q1 2014 and Q1 2018 dipped -10.8%; while radio’s percentage for compound annual growth was -3.4%.

“This is cause for alarm among marketers – and it’s justified,” Bouvard says. He references data from Duncan Stewart, Director of Research with Deloitte’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications Practice, that shows in Nordic nations, this trend has already come to fruition: time spent with linear ad-supported TV is already less than AM/FM radio among younger audiences. “Given these trends, advertisers cannot rely on just television to reach the younger age demographics,” Bouvard adds, suggesting to advertisers that AM/FM radio can make TV advertising “better by complementing and supplementing television audiences.”

Add to that the fact that most persons 6-24 are reached by AM/FM radio weekly. According to Nielsen, 83% of persons 6-11 are reached Monday-Sunday, 6AM to midnight; while 85% of teens and 84% of persons 18-24 are reached by AM/FM radio weekly. Bouvard cites a specific example where CoverGirl advertised on a TV shows that appeals to preteens and teens. In December 2018, the cosmetics company spent $5.6 million dollars on network television. The TV investment yielded a 37% reach of the women 18-24 demographic. A reallocation of 20% of the TV budget into AM/FM radio made reach jump from 37% of women 18-24 to 65%—a +78% increase in reach for the same budget.