State of the News Media 2015
Audio: Fact Sheet
Last updated April 2015
More than half of Americans ages 12 and older have listened to online radio in the past month, according to 2015 survey data from Edison Research – a clear indication that online listening continues to move rapidly into the consumer mainstream. And more of that listening is now being done through mobile devices than through desktops. Traditional AM/FM radio, meanwhile, continues to reach the overwhelming majority of the American public – 91% of Americans ages 12 and older had listened in the week before they were surveyed in 2014, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Nielsen Media Research data, essentially unchanged from 2013. And Sirius XM – the only satellite radio platform in the U.S. – reported a boost in subscriber numbers of almost 7% from 2013.
On the financial side, AM/FM’s revenue from “spot” advertising (ads aired during radio broadcasts, its main revenue source) declined slightly in 2014 while revenue from digital and off-air advertising both posted strong gains. Sirius XM saw an increase in revenue of 10%, up from $3.8 billion in 2013 to $4.2 billion in 2014.
According to Nielsen, the number of all-news radio stations declined slightly in 2014, to 31. News/talk/information remains one of the most popular broadcast formats for American radio listeners, second only to the category of country and new country – but the number of stations has fluctuated over the past few years.
Online Radio Listenership
In 2015, the percentage of Americans 12 years of age or older who reported listening to radio online in the past month rose to 53% – nearly double the percentage who had done so only five years earlier in 2010 (27%). Smartphones are becoming the device of choice for online radio listening: 73% listened via smartphones in the last week, up from 66% in 2014. Desktops and laptops are not far behind, at 61%, though this was down from the previous year (67%).
Web-Based Listening in Cars
As smartphone listening grows, so too does Web-based listening in cars. As of January 2015, more than a third of U.S. adult cellphone owners (35%) have listened to online radio in the car. That is substantially more than the 21% who did so in 2013, and nearly six times the number (6%) who had done so in 2010.
According to Nielsen Media Research data, the number of all-news radio stations declined slightly in 2014 to 31 and is down from 37 in 2012. Although parent ownership of these 31 stations is distributed among a total of 15 entities, just one company – CBS Corporation – owns almost a third of the stations (10). Another eight companies own a single station, and the remaining six companies own either two or three of the news stations. Audience share in 2014 for the all-news category stands at 1% – the same percentage as for religious and Spanish-language contemporary stations.
News/talk/information stations make up one of the most popular broadcast radio formats, garnering an 11% share of listeners among the age 12-and-up demographic in 2014. That is second only to country music. The number of stations, however, has seen some fluctuation over the past few years.
AM/FM’s revenue from “spot” advertising (ads aired during radio broadcasts, its main revenue source) declined 3% in 2014, while revenue from digital and off-air advertising both posted strong gains for the year – 9% and 16%, respectively. Still, those two sources make up only about 16% of total advertising dollars. Overall, 2014 revenue for the radio sector was down 1%.