Most revenue forecasts are positive about the medium term prospects for radio. Why is this?
Recent history suggests that radio is bolstered rather than challenged by new technology. As a multi-platform medium radio is accessed through analogue and digital broadcast receivers and increasingly streamed to mobiles, PCs, and tablets.
More recently, the rise of voice-activated speakers such as the Amazon Echo is helping to raise the profile of and encouraging people to listen more to all forms of audio entertainment, especially radio.
Radio is the most widely accessed form of audio entertainment on echo
Audio entertainment functions used on Echo (% of daily users)
The Echo encourages more audio listening
Proportion of Echo users claiming to listen more often
Because of this greater accessibility the prospects for radio listening remain positive with around 90% of UK adults tuning in every week for an average of three hours each day – making it the second most consumed medium after TV. As explored in Generation Audio despite the competition for ear-time from the likes of podcasts and on-demand music services, live radio’s unique properties mean that cannibalisation remains relatively low.
Younger audiences have different patterns of audio behaviour, with 15-24s much more likely to listen to streamed music services than any other demographic – potentially driven by their bias towards Help Me Escape and Amplify the Moment need-states where use of on-demand audio services is more prevalent – yet even here radio remains the most dominant form of audio entertainment.
Voice activated devices are also stimulating advertisers to consider audio branding more seriously. Historical research shows that ads which feature consistent use of sound (particularly music and voice) are more effective.
The rise in listening to radio and other audio services on connected devices is also creating new commercial opportunities in the form of digital audio advertising placed into streamed or downloaded audio content including radio, on-demand music services, and podcasts. Radio operators are at the forefront of the digital audio market, providing advertisers with targeted audio ads in prestigious environments.
In the immediate future, audio is predicted to remain a vibrant and exciting sector with interesting new developments in the pipeline such as voice control moving into other locations (in-car and wearables); the rise of dynamic creative within digital audio ads to stream the most pertinent version of an ad to each individual listener; increasing use of 3D binaural sound to deliver a more immersive audio advertising experience, where relevant.
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