internet only

Radio faces falling TSL, but how much is due to digital competition?

Thursday, February 14, 2013 - 1:10pm

Radio broadcasters are beginning to grasp the reality that, despite steady (and high) cume, the amount of time Americans spend listening to broadcast radio is falling, most notably in younger demos.

Arbitron RADAR data reveal broadcast radio reaches about 92% of the U.S. population regularly, but 12+ TSL is off 3.2% from April 2010-March 2012.

Inside Radio writes today that while "there's evidence (growing Internet radio listening) is a factor... The issue may not be whether listening to streaming is cannibalizing broadcast radio but rather how much it is increasing listening to broadcast radio brands."

In other words, is broadcast radio listening falling, or merely shifting to a different platform? How much of this Internet stream listening is to broadcast radio brand content?

Triton Digital says, in December, broadcasters accounted for 22% of the web radio traffic the company measures, which means 78% goes to pureplay Internet radio. And that percentage as dramatically shifted in pureplays' favor over the last three years.

So, the likely answer is: Yes. Yes, some loss of AM/FM TSL to streaming is recovered by broadcasters' simulcast (or supplemental) streams. And, yes, Internet-only radio, satellite radio, online music services, and very nearly any other entertainment option, are taking a toll on broadcast radio listening.

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