IHM Ipsos

As the audio market continues to expand, Millennials are listening to more types of audio content – more often and in more places – than any other generation, according to a new survey conducted by Ipsos and commissioned by iHeartMedia. Yet broadcast radio remains the dominant audio channel, reaching more consumers than any other media both daily and weekly.

Results of the new survey, presented to advertising, agency and media brass Thursday evening at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France, show broadcast radio reaches 85% of consumers on a weekly basis, surpassing all other channels, including social media (68%) and live television (56%). The new research also shows radio has two times the daily listening of streaming services, reaching 69% of consumers, compared to streaming music’s 34%.

Ipsos conducted the study in March 2019, surveying a nationally representative sample of 6,016 consumers aged 13–64 who listen to one or more audio platforms at least once a week.

Entitled “Day in the Life Audio Journey,” the research paints a portrait of the expanding audio landscape with listeners enjoying more audio content across an array of platforms, including broadcast radio, digital streaming, podcasts and smart speakers. The multi-platform study explores daily audio usage and habits of Americans and captures when, where and how these various generations are consuming audio.

‘Listening More And Watching Less’

Reinforcing data from Nielsen’s recent “Audio Today” study, the new Ipsos research shows all ages enjoy listening to audio and spend an average of 17.2 hours a week with broadcast radio, streaming music services, podcasts and other audio outlets. Generationally, the study found that Millennials and Gen Z listen the most, spending more than 18 hours each week – and 2.6 hours or more each day – listening to audio. “These numbers, along with social media’s continued popularity, reflect consumers’ need for live, human connections,” the study posits.

Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia, says the data shows audio is “hot” right now and “a must” for marketers looking to reach increasingly elusive and fractured audiences. “If you look at the data, it’s undeniable that consumers are listening more and watching less and this study outlines when, where and why,” says Pittman. “Contrary to some misperceptions, it shows we are living in an audio-first world by drilling down a more granular overview of audio listenership and showing what a day-in-the-life of the average listener is like when it comes to media consumption.”

Listening Most On-The-Go

The Ipsos study also explores where and when people listen, offering further confirmation audio is most often consumed on-the-go. The survey numbers find 65% of audio listening occurs outside the home and most often in the car, with radio accounting for 65% of in-vehicle audio listening. Yet radio’s companionship role extends throughout the day, the study shows, leading media use in 70% of waking hours and is the most used audio platform all day, and at all hours.

The research additionally shows that the rapid rise of smart speakers has made radio more prominent in the home, revealing that homes with smart speakers spend 47% more time listening to radio during prime hours (8-10pm) than listeners without.

The iHeart-commissioned Ipsos study shines a light on audio’s fastest growing channel, podcasting, where listening is up 48% with people aged 12–24, according to the 2019 Infinite Dial study from Edison Research and Triton Digital. The Ipsos numbers show that podcasts now represent almost 10% of audio listening among Millennials. Debunking misperceptions that podcast and radio audiences are separate camps, the study shows podcast listeners are also radio listeners, with 82% also listening to radio on a weekly basis. In addition, radio continues to be the No. 1 audio choice for Gen Z as podcasts are replacing online video as a daytime escape for many during work and school.

“Radio has long been a trusted companion for people of all ages so it’s no surprise that it continues to be the premier destination when people want to connect with others and their community,” said Gayle Troberman, CMO of iHeartMedia. “The only difference now versus decades ago is that today people can enjoy that connection anywhere they are across a variety of platforms.”