Radio’s Reach Beats Digital, Social


By Adam R Jacobson

New research from Nielsen shows that more Americans engage in the world’s original electronic medium each month than any social media platform or mobile/PC-based activity.

RBR + TVBR OBSERVATION (Full text below, for subscribers): Some 263 million American consumers engage with AM and FM radio each month. That puts Radio ahead of social media darlings who are attracting a whole lot of advertiser attention. So why do media buyers and advertisers express so much disdain toward Radio?


The audience measurement company took a look at the total audience in the domestic media universe, and confirmed what many pro-radio associations and C-Suite executives have been saying for months: Radio still matters, and in a big way.

Some 263 million people engage with AM and FM radio each month. That puts Radio at No. 2 behind Live + DVR and time-shifted television consumption, with some 287 million people engaged with TV each month.

Isolating DVR and time-shifted TV, some 200 million consumers are engaged each month in this type of television usage.

Thus, when it comes to live at-this-moment reach, AM and FM radio are one of the most highly effective outlets for marketers and brand managers.

How does social media stack up?

According to Nielsen some 176 million Americans engage with a social media app or web-based platform each month on a smartphone.

Furthermore, some 113 million Americans engage with social media on a PC each month.

Meanwhile, monthly user engagement with AM and FM dwarfs that of game consoles, which see some 93 million Americans engage with this type of entertainment device each month.

Radio also has a greater number of consumers that engage with the medium each month than “video on a smartphone”—whether it be a YouTube video or watching a full-length show on Netflix. The total number of consumers who are engaged in this type of smartphone activity each month numbers 151 million.

Dennis Wharton, EVP/Communications for the NAB, says radio broadcasters have acknowledged the growth of digital, both in terms of audience and advertising dollars.

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