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Radio listening inches up, smartphone audio skyrockets in Nielsen Q1

Nielsen has released its comparable metrics report for the first quarter of 2016. The data revealed growth for most forms of both radio and streaming, although the rates of increase varied by platform and age.

Weekly reach for radio remains unchanged from the previous quarter, with 93% of adults listening each week. That audience includes 224.92 million unique listeners, up from 222.65 million in the year-ago period. Gross minutes also increased from nearly 186.14 billion to 189.83 billion. For the 18-34 year-old age group, radio’s audience is almost 67.2 million at 47.7 billion gross minutes. In Q1 2015, audience was 66.9 million with about 47.61 billion gross minutes.

Nielsen Q1 2016 comparable metricsIn terms of a media time breakdown, TV is still the dominate form of entertainment, with the average adult watching for 35 hours, 26 minutes a week. Radio is a distant second at a weekly average of 13 hours, 1 minute, followed by smartphones at 11 hours, 36 minutes. The proportion of time for the 18-34 age bracket, which spent only 20 hours, 24 minutes per week with TV and 10 hours, 54 minutes with radio, compared with 14 hours, 23 minutes on smartphones.

The comparable metrics for streaming in Q1 also backed the trends we’ve been seeing both anecdotally and in other research. More than 84.43 million adults listened to audio streaming on smartphones for almost 8.34 billion gross minutes. The same quarter of 2015 had a reach of just 67.62 million adults and 4.39 billion minutes. The younger demographic was responsible for much of that spike, with a smartphone audio streaming audience that grew from 28.05 million to 34.65 million, and gross minutes up from 2.2 billion to 4.16 billion.

Smartphone video showed a similar increase, with gross minutes rising from 3.41 billion to 5.69 billion among all adults, and from 1.9 billion to 3.01 billion for the 18-34 group. Intriguingly, PC streaming posted a decline for the general population, falling from 23.91 million to 19.53 million in audience. Gross minutes nearly hit 1.82 billion in Q1 2016, just edging up from Q1 2015’s 1.81 billion.

This installment of the Nielsen report included a few changes worth noting. Time spent using mobile devices used to be capped at 30 minutes per session in the earlier versions, but that limit has been removed in this report. It also reflects the entire 13 weeks of the quarter in both 2015 and 2016 rather than a slice of the period. Streaming audio metrics still only cover services such as Pandora or Spotify that don’t center on video.

Anna Washenko

One Comment

  1. Fall through Spring, when some reality shows I watch are on, is when I spend more time watching TV than listening to music.

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