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Free (Broadcast) Radio STILL Dominates! – Pandora Is Still Not Proven!

January 11, 2013

Let’s face it, sure there is an influx of New Media knocking on our door (laptops) every time we turn around.  Your email notification probably just dinged with a new company asking you to sign up. And, you’ve probably heard the buzz that because of all of this New Media, it has resulted in Broadcast Radio suffering.  Well don’t believe the hype.  Here’s why…

In recent December 2012 data released by Arbitron, Radio continues to reach an impressive 92% (241.5 million) of all Americans age 12 or older every week. Listeners continue to turn to Radio for news, information and entertainment – despite an ever-increasing selection of media options.

With the influx of new media outlets, there is one particular Internet Radio player named Pandora.  On a local level, markets are becoming challenged with advertisers having started to place or are considering placing advertising dollars on Pandora.  And, like on a national level, local Radio still has tremendous reach.  Therefore, there is a story to be told.  And, that story is that based on your particular market, Pandora’s penetration is nowhere close to reaching an advertiser’s target audience.

Here’s how you tell the story.  Pull your most recent Arbitron data for market Radio listening and for your station(s) based on Adults 18+.  Next, obtain Pandora usage by utilizing your market’s annual Scarborough data (Adults 18+).   How to Read: Each week, more than nine out of ten (93%) of the Adults 18+ in the (Your Market) metro are reached by Free Radio. That represents more than ¾ million (757,000) Adults 18+ in the metro.  And, (Your Group) reaches over half (54%) or nearly ½ million (443,000) Adults 18+ each week.  On the other hand, only 12% of the Adults 18+ in the metro have visited Pandora in the past month.  That represents under 100,000 (96,000) of these Adults 18+ in the metro.  And, keep in mind that is within a month, not a week.  You can apply the same story for the particular market and, hopefully, you will yield the same results.

Although new media outlets, such as Pandora, provide a unique service to consumers, they still have not been able to prove their reach to consumers on a consistent basis and there are other concerns (i.e., no accountability/trusted measurable source, low/declined usage, increased competition).  For example, based on a 2012 study conducted by Bridge Ratings (The Pandora Study, User Satisfaction Over Time), of those people who have used Pandora one or more years, their level of interest has been declining.  For example, in 2006 less than 1 out of 10 (9%) of the 45-54 year-olds said they weren’t using Pandora as much as they used to.  In 2012, that % increased to one out of five (20%) who weren’t using Pandora as much.









Despite what many of the new media outlets might have the masses believe, ALWAYS remember that Radio continues to be strong.  Radio continues to grow or at least is still very consistent for reaching consumers in the U.S.  The reliable facts prove it.  Now go WOW!!! your prospects by showing them how powerful Radio continues to be.

-Kathryn Boxill, Radio Sales Research Manager