Are new audio options like streaming audio and podcasting cutting into in-car radio listening? Or, are they just replacing the audio options that came before – like the multi-CD stacker replaced the in-car cassette deck, and cassettes replaced 8-tracks 20 years before that?
The jury is still out but, In Canada at least, the evidence is that radio is holding on nicely, thank you. Despite all the buzz around new audio options and ever more complex in-dash configurations, broadcast radio remains dominant in the car. Our latest Radio on the Move study, conducted among more than 2,000 Canadian drivers/passengers this past Fall, pegs the share of in-car listening devoted to AM/FM radio in Canada at 66%, virtually unchanged from what it was five years ago.
New alternatives such as podcasts and streaming audio are indeed growing, though they still represent a tiny fraction of in-car listening—podcasts now garner a 2.5% share, while streaming audio’s share is barely half that at 1.4%.
Perhaps even more interesting, increased listening in-car to audio alternatives such as satellite radio, podcasts and streaming audio seem to be coming at the expense of listening to personal music (CDs, iPods, owned music on smartphones), not to AM/FM radio where the share of in-car listening holds steady.
How relevant are these findings to other countries like the U.S., UK and Australia? Certainly, the share of in-car listening to streaming audio would likely be higher elsewhere—Canada still has no Pandora, and Spotify has only been around since September of 2014. Still, with no other country tracking the share of in-car listening in this manner, the fact that other audio options seem to be replacing personal music listening in Canada suggests that broadcast radio may weather the storm better than expected. At the least in the car. At home or work? Well, that could be a whole different story.
Click here for a Radio on the Move trend update, with survey details and key findings on the share of in-car listening to broadcast radio and other audio options.
With more than 25 years of senior level media research and consulting experience, Jeff provides research expertise and strategic advice to leading media and broadcast companies in Canada and the US. At Audience Insights Inc., Jeff works with a network of associates to provide his media clients with a full spectrum of research services and insights.