Leading Provider of Highly Scalable Online Services

Consumer Trends in Streaming Music

What It Means for OTT Audio Streamers & Advertisers

The recent NAB Show, where content delivery, development and management professionals gather for a few days annually, proved to be a great opportunity for the Mirror Image team to gain a better sense of the ever-evolving broadcast landscape. This event is a huge draw for video and audio broadcasters looking to learn more about what’s next in the industry, and how they can take advantage of the latest technologies. And we wanted to help attendees do just that – which is why we issued a Radio Evolution Survey during the show. In our pre-NAB blog post, we wrote about how the evolution of broadcast toward Over-the-Top (OTT) services is impacting both audio content and video content delivery and services. With so much attention being paid to video services such as Hulu and Netflix, however, we wanted to focus our efforts on the audio landscape. Our Radio Evolution Survey results helped us identify key insights into where the radio industry stands today, where it is heading in the future and what it means for audio broadcasters and advertisers.

Key Findings

Traditional AM/FM radios are on their way out. According to our Radio Evolution survey, over 42 percent of people have not listened to an AM/FM radio in their homes in over a year. Instead, people are opting for online programming such as Pandora and Spotify, which are two of the most popular online radio platforms. Furthermore, people are listening to this content across a multitude of devices, from smartphones to tablets to Smart TVs.

This shift in how consumers listen to audio content is driving a major evolution in radio, as listeners now need to be reached through the Internet instead of through wave frequencies.  Traditional broadcast companies must consider how they are reaching audiences across digital channels – with only 13 percent of people actually willing to pay for online audio programming, ad partners will be key to monetizing broadcast content. In addition, failure to ensure that your content is optimized on all digital devices, regardless of consumer preference, will result in substantial loss in revenue.

An overwhelming majority of people listen to audio during the workday. Our Radio Evolution survey found that nearly 80% of respondents listen to audio content throughout the work day. Meaning, consumers have more “ear time” than “eye time”, creating a large opportunity for advertisers to capture the attention of those individuals. Most advertisers have already made this switch – but are they reaching listeners effectively? Over 30 percent of participants noted that they find online radio advertisements “very annoying”, while 27 percent claim that the ads are never really relevant to their interests. Therefore, when creating campaigns for OTT audio content, advertisers need to consider the following:

  • Which devices their audiences are listening online content through and adjust ads accordingly to make it easy for listeners to engage:
    • 50% on smartphones
    • 36% on desktops/ laptops
    • 13% on tablets and smart TVs
    • When and where consumers are listening to online audio content:
      • 79% during their workday
      • 50% in their car
      • What channels consumers are tuning into:
        • 21% Pandora
        • 22% Spotify
        • 24% AM/ FM radios
        • 16% iTunes and iHeart Radio

Leverage big data. With no clear winner in online video platforms, advertisers must know where their audiences are. Through leveraging big data and analytics, advertisers have the ability to identify where their specific audience consumes audio content and tailor advertising campaigns to those platforms in order to best take advantage of online audio programming.

Our Radio Evolution survey confirmed what we already knew to be true – the broadcast industry is continuing to shift, as all things are, towards digital. Now, broadcasters and advertisers must make the shift alongside their audiences. Old strategies for reaching consumers through broadcast are no longer relevant and will result in decreased audience engagement.

So, how are you leveraging online radio content? If you’re interested in hearing more about our survey results, or how Mirror Image can help you improve your audio offerings, make sure to reach out to us at martin.hayward@mirror-image.com. And be sure to follow along with Mirror Image insights through out Twitter handle, @MirrorImageDDN.