Edison Research: Internet Radio Weekly Listeners Hit 50% of U.S. Population

The Infinite Dial report from Edison Research and Triton Digital found that monthly Internet radio listeners passed the 50% threshold of the 12-and-older U.S. population for the first time in 2015. Just one year later and the 2016 edition reveals that weekly Internet radio listenership is also at 50% while monthly listeners grew to 57%. That means 88% of people who listen to Internet radio have made it a weekly habit.
Monthly Online Radio Listening
Weekly Online Radio Listening
Monthly & Weekly Online Radio Listeners

Weekly Audience Important to Advertisers

Nielsen estimates that 95% of U.S. Internet radio listeners choose ad-supported listening. Applying the Edison user population estimates, you find 147 million monthly and 129 million weekly ad-supported listeners. By cross-referencing eMarketer data with Edison findings we can see that its monthly estimates of 177 million monthly listeners would yield 156 million weekly listeners, of which 148 million would be using ad-supported services. Either way, we find that 46% of the U.S. population is accessing ad-supported Internet radio weekly and over half on a monthly basis. Subscription listening may be high profile in the media, but ad-supported listening commands the vast majority of the Internet radio consumers. That finding reflects a tremendous opportunity for advertisers to reach an engaged audience.

Dissecting Different Market Size Estimates

eMarketer US Internet Radio AudienceeMarketer uses a broader population estimate that includes all ages whereas Edison only reports findings from the 12-years-and-older cohort. eMarketer’s monthly user population estimate is 177 million compared to Edison’s 155 million. The question is whether these findings are comparable. If we assume eMarketer includes the 5-11 age cohort and take out the under five population, you get another 28 million potential listeners. By applying the Edison Research monthly listening rate of 79% for the 12-24 cohort to this group, you get about 22 million additional monthly listeners. This is exactly the difference between the Edison and eMarketer market size estimates.

With that said, there is some variance here as eMarketer last year matched Edison precisely (we wrote about it here) when simply applying the monthly listening rate for a 12+ audience to the total U.S. population. This year, there is a 3% variance using that method, but probably is more accurate when accounting for comparable population estimates. The more important conclusion is that both market size estimates are very close and indicative of a mature marketing channel with stable and predictable audience metrics.

The Growth Trend is Up for Listeners and Advertisers

The Edison and eMarketer data both show consistent and significant growth trends. Edison data show a 68% rise in monthly listeners over the past five years and 127% rise in weekly listeners during that period. As a result, it is not surprising that advertisers are following the audience and increasing their presence on Internet radio. XAPPmedia’s Internet Radio Ad Load Report for 2015 found that unique advertisers grew by 5.4x over the course of the year with large increases for both national and local advertisers accessing the channel. These findings confirm that Internet radio has become mainstream for both consumers and advertisers.

To learn more about Internet radio advertising trends, download the Internet Radio Ad Load Report by clicking below.

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