Nielsen: Younger listeners driving weekly time spent for streaming audio, and cost keeps multiple subscriptions down

Nielsen released a special edition of its Total Audience Report focused on streaming media.

While radio remained the top audio source by weekly reach at 92%, streaming audio on smartphones took the second spot. In Q3 2019, streaming audio on smartphones had a weekly reach of 64%, up from 45% in Q3 2018. Streaming audio on tablets had a smaller audience, but still grew from 13% weekly reach in Q3 2018 to 25% in Q3 2019. Satellite radio remained steady at 16% between the quarters.

In selecting an audio streaming platform, 78% of survey participants said ease of use was extremely or very important. Variety/availability of content received 72% of responses, while cost compared to free options had 64%.

From the overall survey audience, 38% of participants subscribed to one paid audio platform, compared with 37% not subscribing to any. The balance shifted across age brackets. Ages 18-34 had 40% subscribing to one platform and 29% not paying for any, while ages 50-64 had the most extreme opposite result of 32% with one subscription and 52% with none.

Nielsen asked why respondents subscribed to additional paid services. The top reasons were a tie between “to access content ‘on the go’ or on mobile devices” and “to access content with limited or no commercials,” both with 39%. “To expand the content that I have available” had a 36% rate. In contrast, the overall cost of media services was the leading reason given for limiting the number of paid services participants subscribed to. Forty-three percent said they were already satisfied with their available options.

The report also included the usual data tables of a Total Audience Report. In Q3 2019, radio had 11 hours, 48 minutes of weekly time spent for all U.S. adults. The lowest weekly time spent with radio was for the 18-34 age group at 9 hours, 6 minutes and the highest was ages 50-64 at 14 hours, 33 minutes.

Streaming audio on a smartphone had 57 minutes of weekly time spent. For ages 18-34, the rate spiked to 1 hour, 39 minutes, and fell off for each older group down to just 19 minutes for ages 65+.

Nielsen also released a chart of weekly time spent for users of each medium. Within this segment, radio’s overall weekly time spent was 12 hours, 58 minutes, and streaming audio on a smartphone posted 1 hour, 29 minutes. The 18-35 bracket reported 10 hours, 14 minutes for radio and 2 hours, 7 minutes for smartphone audio streaming.

Anna Washenko