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Report: No Audience Impact From COVID-19 in Markets 50-100


Westwood One
Westwood One

According to just-released Nielsen data from an April 2020 listening analysis of 44 diary markets, and cited by Westwood One's Insights team on its blog, there was no audience impact from COVID-19 in markets ranked 50-100. AM/FM radio retained 97% of prior listening volumes in these markets with only a -3% reduction in listening from February to April, dispelling New York City-based media planner and strategist beliefs that no one is listening to broadcast radio. The Nielsen report was the first of listening reflecting the impact of COVID-19.

Westwood One's Insights team also uses a variety of sources and found:

  • Geopath: Outside of America's largest cities, miles traveled match or exceed prior year volumes. Total U.S. miles traveled for the week of May 11-May 17, 2020 are down only -10% versus the prior year. Miles traveled in the top 25 markets is -25% lower than the prior year. Outside the top 26 markets, miles traveled volumes match or exceed the prior year.

  • Geopath data shows a significant drop in miles traveled in late March and early April. Since then, traffic volumes have recovered significantly.

  • Apple Maps: U.S. driving search requests completely recover to pre-COVID-19 levels. While total U.S. driving volumes have returned to prior levels indexed to January, New York City is at 77% pre-COVID-19 norms.

  • American AM/FM radio retains 93% of pre-COVID-19 audience. Combining the just-released April diary data with recent May PPM audiences to form a national perspective, American AM/FM radio has retained 93% of pre-COVID-19 reach levels and 86% of pre-COVID-19 average quarter-hour audiences.

  • Pandora and Spotify are reach-challenged. In a typical day in America, 91% are not reached by ad-supported Pandora and 96% of Americans are not reached by ad-supported Spotify, according to Edison's recently-released "Share of Ear" report.

  • A buy on AM/FM radio reaches 69% of Pandora's audience for free. According to Edison, a huge number of Americans (84%) only listen to AM/FM radio and do not listen to Pandora. Only 11% of Americans listen to both AM/FM radio and Pandora. A tiny 5% of Americans only listen to Pandora and do not listen to AM/FM radio.

  • A buy on AM/FM radio reaches 58% of Spotify's audience for free. Similarly, Edison finds a huge number of Americans (88%) only listen to AM/FM radio and do not listen to Spotify. Only 7% of Americans listen to both AM/FM radio and Spotify. A tiny 5% of Americans only listen to Spotify and do not listen to AM/FM radio.

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