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AM/FM Radio Ratings Overtake TV Among Persons 18-49


Westwood One
Westwood One

Four years ago, Duncan Stewart, Director of Research, Technology, Media & Telecommunications at Deloitte, made a surprising forecast. By 2025, he predicted, AM/FM radio audiences would overtake TV among 18-34s. Stewart's prediction occurred early. Last year, Nielsen's Total Audience Report revealed AM/FM radio won versus TV in 18-34 average audiences. Now, AM/FM radio ratings have accomplished something few could have foreseen.

This week's Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group blog outlines how AM/FM radio ratings have overtaken TV among persons 18-49 for the first time in media history.

  • Among persons 18-49, AM/FM radio now beats TV in average audience and weekly reach. According to Nielsen's Q3 2022 Total Audience Report, AM/FM radio's persons 18-49 average audience is now +3% greater than television.

  • TV reach among persons 18-49 has dropped -28% and time spent viewing eroded -56%. Since 2018, Nielsen's Total Audience Report reveals the 18-49 weekly reach of live and time-shifted TV has dropped -28%. Over the same period, TV's daily time spent is down -56%, an hour and a half loss.

  • Cord cutting is a major driver of TV's audience collapse. The MRI Simmons January 2023 "How Americans Watch TV" report reveals 51% have cut the cord.

  • Streaming is now TV: Americans say streaming has replaced traditional TV. A Hub Entertainment study finds from 2016 to 2022, those who said streaming was "the first thing you turn on when you watch" doubled from 20% to 39%. The proportion who said the first thing they turned on is "live from pay TV" dropped from 48% to 28%.

  • While a huge number of Americans have abandoned traditional TV for streaming, AM/FM radio remains the dominant audio platform. According to Edison Research's Q4 2022 "Share of Ear," AM/FM radio has a massive 73% share of U.S. ad-supported audio.

  • AM/FM radio makes TV better: J&J's pharma brand Tremfya realizes a +45% reach increase by adding AM/FM radio to the media plan.

  • Shifting 20% of GoodRx's TV budget to AM/FM radio would generate a +31% increase in reach.

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